01 Dec

February 10: History Lab – Pop-up Books

Pop-Up History

Long before one could pick up a tablet and conjure up a streaming video at the touch of a finger, the pop-up book was a popular sensation because of the way it engaged the imagination in a way that flat images and text never could. In fact, some of the earliest moving image books were anatomy texts; if a picture is worth a thousand words, pictures that move in 3 dimensions must be even more valuable!

While books with sliding and moving images date back at least to the 13th century, the pop-up book as we know it was not mass produced until 1930. By designing and building our own pop ups, we’ll get to think a little bit about the know-how it took to bring these familiar childhood books into our homes and lives – and have fun being creative, too!

How does it work?

Simple pop-up cards can be made with a few well-placed cuts and folds, glued flaps or accordions, and/or underlays. We’ll have examples of a different ways of creating a pop-up image along with all the materials and decorating supplies you’ll need. Staff and volunteers will be available to help with designs and pop-up book making, and we’ll also have pre-made pop-ups that younger kids (or anyone so inclined!) can decorate. Hint: pop-up cards make great valentines!

Throughout the afternoon, the historic house will be open for informal and self-guided tours. For those who wish to look more closely and carefully at some of the details of the architecture and historic furnishings, there will also be a museum seek-and-find guide (age appropriate to 7-11).

“Pop on by!”

We can’t take reservations for this free workshop and space is available on a first-come, first serve basis, but if you like what we’re up to and want to invite some friends, sign up and share on our Facebook page.

Think there’s no place to park in west campus? We can help! Parking is 100% free in the 40 space museum lot off of 23rd street between San Gabriel and Leon. Overflow parking is available on the street or 1 block away at the University Towers parking garage.


A volvella used by medieval astronomers



An example of a 1930s pop-up


A simple pop-up valentine





Another simple pop-up pattern