Jacob’s Penguins


A community art project in loving memory of Jacob Thompson

If you’ve been to the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine recently, you may have noticed our collaborative art gallery hung along our stairwell walls. As you head up to our second floor, you’re greeted by a giant 4-foot penguin sculpture, which has a very special meaning behind it.

This piece of art was created with over 500 cards received by 9-year-old Jacob Thompson, who upon receiving news of his terminal illness, requested Christmas cards from the community. This request was met with overwhelming support from around the world, receiving 300,000 individual cards and another 300,000 homemade cards sent in from schools, communities, church groups, sports teams, and other groups. Many of the cards featured Jacob’s favorite animal: penguins.

The collaborative art piece, Live Like a Penguin, can be viewed at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine during normal business hours through May. The Museum & Theatre has additional cards received by Jacob and is hoping to create more penguin collages in the future. Keep an eye on our events calendar if you’d like to be a part this meaningful community art project.

About the Artwork
Title: Live Like a Penguin
In Loving Memory of Jacob Thompson
Artist: 100 Museum & Theatre visitors
“Jacob Thompson fought a courageous battle with neuroblastoma for four years and in Fall 2017, he made the simple request for the community to help him celebrate Christmas by sending cards. Thousands of complete strangers sent Christmas cards to Jacob at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. Jacob loved penguins. Jacob and his family were inspired to “Live Like a Penguin,” meaning, “be friendly, stand by each other, go the extra mile, jump into life, and be cool.” We hope this piece inspires you to learn more about neuroblastoma, help a penguin rescue group, or simply give someone you love a big, penguin hug.”
Materials: A small portion of the Christmas cards sent to Jacob at Maine Medical Center, tempera paint, cardboard, glue

In the News
You can read more about Jacob and his family’s story through the following links: