We drove in the day before the conference to visit the Wade Center, which has some crazy awesome things from authors like George MacDonald, Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis.
During our visit, I kept having to take deep breaths to remain calm. The inner geek in me was lurking just below the surface but I try to not look like a lunatic in front of my coworkers (I’m usually only partly successful).
This is C. S. Lewis’ desk and chair. Lewis is, of course, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, which basically WERE my childhood (along with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and, uh, unfortunately, The Saddle Club books).
Less awesome but still pretty great were these props from the movie The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The Wade Center has a reading room that we toured as well. On this table were first editions of The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy, a handwritten (!) manuscript by Lewis of The Screwtape Letters, and several letters from Tolkien and Lewis.
We also saw the original sketch of this lovely creature, Reepicheep (this illustration found in The Last Battle).
Image and more info on Reepicheep can be found here.
But the icing on the cake of this delicious visit was this:
Oh boy. Let’s just scroll back up and check that out again.
This is THE wardrobe that was made by C. S. Lewis’ grandfather and that was the inspiration for everything.
I understand if you need to scroll up again.
This notice was taped just inside the wardrobe door.
It was at this point that I stifled everything in my head encouraging me to clamber in and disappear forever and remained safely, and significantly less excitingly, outside the wardrobe and out of Narnia.
I’m still regretting that decision.
But at least I maintained my professionalism.