Dog art connoisseurs traveling to St. Louis, Missouri are in for a real treat as the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog resides there. Not only does this museum afford a dog lover the opportunity of viewing some magnificent art but also if you are traveling with your dogs, the museum is dog friendly.
While in Missouri last June, I had the opportunity to visit the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog with Zoe, my Saluki. I was taken watching Zoe view some of the dog sculpture and porcelain figurines. She was especially fascinated with the bronze sculptures of a Great Dane, Doberman and Irish Setter.
The American Kennel Club Museum Of The Dog is located at Queeny Park in a charming Greek Revival home known as the Jarville House. The ambiance makes you feel right at home as you view the impressive collection of dog art.
The Jarville House became the official home of the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in 1987. During 1989 construction began on the 14,000 square foot addition to Jarville and the attached carriage house was remodeled to accommodate the gift shop.
The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog was established in 1981. Originally the museum was located at the AKC’s headquarters in New York City. Its first exhibition was in 1982.
As you enter the museum you cannot help but notice the museum logo, the celestial image of Sirius. As Sirius is considered the brightest star in night sky, it is appropriate that the Museum of The Dog, a shining star for dog artwork should utilize this image to illuminate the value of its collection.
Barbara McNab has been the current director for 15 years. With her vision the museum collection and outreach has grown while maintaining its mission, which is “dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of the art, artifacts and literature of the dog for the purposes of education, historical perspective, aesthetic enjoyment and in order to enhance the appreciation for and knowledge of the significance of the dog and the human/canine relationship”. Although the museum does not purchase art, the artwork is gifted from private individuals and estates.
Many of the museums more contemporary acquisitions come from the Art Show At The Dog Show, a yearly dog art exhibition held in Wichita, Kansas where the Best In Show artwork is donated to the museum by the show’s sponsors.
Besides the art collection, the American Museum of the Dog sponsors many other activities such as the meet and greet Dog for the Day, the Kennelwood Village Obedience Training at the museum, a summer day camp for kids and the ever popular Paws for Reading Fun Day, where children come and read to Fido, hug a dog and go home with a canine goodie bag.
No matter what your breed, there is something for everyone at the Museum of the Dog. You will find the old masters of dog art including works by James Ward as well as contemporary dog art from such known artists as Stephen Hunick. Artwork ranges from oil paintings to sculpture. There is even a collection of matchbooks that feature dogs on the label. The museum also has an extensive library of dog books.
Some of my favorites were Joy Kroeger Beckner’s, A Good Life that depicts a Dachshund rolled over on its back, Louise Petersen’s Great Dane sculpture called Chickadee, the whimsical artwork of Stephen Hunick, Constance Coleman’s 1986 Untitled Giclee of a Great Dane, international artist Alfredo Garcia Aguilar’s 1994 painting called The Bravos and of course any artwork that depicted my own breed, the Saluki.
One of the museum’s most famous paintings is the 1888 William Henry Hamilton Trood painting, A Domestic Scene that establishes the change from depicting utilitarian dog art to that of companion dog art.
As this was my second visit to the Museum of the Dog, I can say spending an afternoon viewing dog art is well worth it.
For more information:
American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog
1721 South Mason Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
Open Tuesday thru Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
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