What Nerds Do On Vacation

On the campus of Wheaton College, at the corner of Washington and Lincoln Streets, sits a little cottage that looks like something out of a storybook. It’s called the Marion Wade center, and it is a museum and reading room dedicated to The Inklings.

Inside, you will find a wardrobe. THE wardrobe that inspired CS Lewis’ idea of sending Lucy through the wardrobe into Narnia.

There are fur coats inside, but the back is solid.
See that sign behind me? It says that the museum isn’t responsible for people who disappear into the wardrobe.

I may or may not have been crying a little here.

Tolkien’s desk where he wrote and illustrated The Hobbit, as well as parts of The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. Under the glass is a handwritten note, signed with the familiar beautiful signature of the author.

Lewis’ desk from Magdelen College


Dorothy Sayers’ work on Dante’s Inferno

After we toured the little museum (really just one large room), we peeked into the reading room and decided to nose around a bit. I chose a collection of letters which included Lewis’ entire correspondence with Sheldon VanAuken, the author of A Severe Mercy. David read a few essays. The snow fell gently outside as we sat and drank in the quiet.
It was a perfect morning.

My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not
realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already
too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again….

–C.S. Lewis, from the dedication to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

4 Responses to “What Nerds Do On Vacation”

  1. Josh and Dana

    I'm not a nerd, but that sounds like a perfectly wonderful morning! And I LOVE it when you quote Lewis. Glad you guys are enjoying yourselves. 🙂


  2. Rachael Starke

    Oh. Wow.I got teary seeing those pictures.I can't believe you could actually touch such a holy object!!!Very, very jealous.(And is it just me, or is that room just entirely too small and simple? Leave it to the Protestants to just kind let it be; the Catholics would have gilded and painted everything in sight!!)if I'm not mistaken, there's a library there too where a lot of Lewis' manuscripts are stored….


  3. Rachel

    Wow, that would be such a wonderful way to spend the morning. Narnia is magical, my daughter, who is 4, is obsessed with TLTW&TW, she would love to see that wardrobe 🙂 Looks like you had a wonderful trip.


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