Introducing MOO-seum: A COW FOR A CAUSE.

Imagine my surprise when Jennifer Cloward, director of the Paso Robles Children’s Museum ( and local artist Cindy Burnside contacted me to let me know that the main character in my picture book MOLLY BY GOLLY! THE LEGEND OF MOLLY WILLIAMS, AMERICA’S FIRST FEMALE FIREFIGHTER, had been lovingly re-imagined as a cow sculpture for the San Luis Obispo, California CowParade. Using artist Kathleen Kemly’s wonderful renderings of Molly Williams for the book as her inspiration, Cindy worked her own magic bring Molly to life in an udderly different form.


First, a little background on this unique program: CowParade™ is an international moo-ving public art exhibit that has been featured in 75 major cities since its inception. It’s brought smiles to more than 250 million people worldwide. It’s raised thousands of dollars for hundreds of community charities.

of the most successful art endeavors ever. And now it’s come to San Luis Obispo County, California, for a year of fun fundraising.


CowParade SLO County will showcase 101 (for Highway 101) of these life-size, 120-pound, fiberglass works of art. Taking place September 2016 – May 2017, the event will involve, unite and benefit the whole community. A variety of events are scheduled throughout the year to exhibit these works of art until they are auctioned off for charity early in spring 2017, with net proceeds benefiting three title charities, including the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation, The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, and ARTS Obispo, as well as other county non-profit organizations.


The “Molly” cow sculpture, aka “Moo-seum Cow” can be viewed at the event’s website (…) but first, I’d like to share with you a Q&A I recently had with Jennifer about the museum’s involvement in the program and how our friend, Moo-seum Molly Cow, is fitting in at her new home.


How did the Paso Robles Children’s Museum get involved in the Cow Parade project?

Because Cow Parade is an art installation that promotes tourism and supports charitable organizations it was a natural fit for the Museum. The Cow Parade SLO sponsors were kind enough to donate the Mini Moo to the museum.

Is this the first time you’ve participated or do you have other sculptures from past community project?

This is the first time Cow Parade has been brought to San Luis Obispo County.

Why did you select Molly by Golly as the book upon which the cow parade sculpture would be created?

The Paso Robles Children’s Museum is housed in the old volunteer firehouse and we incorporate many fire department and fire personnel based exhibits in the Museum, it’s part of our mission. We had originally decided to have the cow painted wearing a standard fire suit and dedicate it to our local firefighter heroes. We realized the cow was a female and were struggling to find the right name,  and we wanted something to go with MOOseum. A quick google search for the first female firefighter led me to the name Molly Williams, which was perfect. It just got better when I discovered your book and the beautiful story and illustrations. It tied in so perfectly with the Children’s Museum and I use the book to read to the children who visit the Museum as part of our Free School Field Trip Program. Nearly 2,000 children a year take part in this program.

Where in your museum does Molly now reside?

She is right inside the front door as you enter the Museum. She will only be there until May when she will be collected by Cow Parade SLO and auctioned off. We hope a Museum patron will purchase her for for the Museum.

How is the sculpture used in your museum?

Because the Cow Parade is a county wide art exhibit we have a lot of visitors stop by the Museum just to see Molly and take their photograph with her.

How did the kids react to the Molly, by Golly cow sculpture when she first arrived?

They love her, of course! She’s there to greet them.

How is the cow sculpture used by the children, if she is placed in an interactive display?

Everything in the Museum is interactive and Molly is no exception. Because she is a Mini Moo she is the perfect size for the children to climb on and enjoy.

Thank you for your participation and answers!

Thank you! You are an inspiration to us, and the children who play at the Museum!


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