On this day in 2002, the nation's first museum of picture book art opened in Amherst. A decade earlier, children's book author and illustrator Eric Carle had visited a picture book museum in Tokyo and returned home determined to build one in the United States. The Northampton-based artist, perhaps best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, received support from nearby Hampshire College, which offered space on its campus. Architects designed the building to make visitors feel as if they were stepping inside one of the bold, brightly colored collages that make Eric Carle's books so engaging to children and adults alike. One of many messages Carle received at the museum's dedication read: "Everyone in our neighborhood sends congratulations." It was signed, "Your Life-Long Neighbor, Fred Rogers."