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Whether you're a lifelong resident or just in town for a while, no tour of St. Louis is complete without a trip to the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog. Located in the heart of St. Louis County, the museum is dedicated to the "art, artifacts and literature" of the dog.
First established in New York in 1982, the collection was moved to St. Louis in 1986, housed in part in the former home of Edgar Queeny on the grounds of Queeny Park. It is the only museum of its kind representing all breeds of dogs. Portraits, sculptures, porcelains, murals and other canine artifacts make up the distinctive collection. The museum also sponsors special exhibits and events related to canine activities.
Barbara Jedda McNab, director of the museum since 1996, explained that the beginnings of dog portraiture is attributed to Queen Victoria who commissioned the best artists of the time to paint the many pets she kept as companions. Dogs were lovingly represented as faithful and loyal, which was a departure of their usual depictions as hunters and fighters. At the heart of this collection are 19 paintings donated from the Cynthia Wood estate. Also on display in the permanent collection are the works of the winning artists of the Art Show at the Dog Show, held annually in Wichita, Kan. Among them is a portrait of a Labrador retriever, which is one of the most expressive and lifelike pieces on display.
A special feature of the museum is the Hope Levy Memorial Dog Library. Available by appointment, this comfortable reading room contains numerous volumes on dog art and artifacts that can be researched while at the museum.
On Sundays, the museum hosts the guest dog of the week. Different breeds are spotlighted and are available for petting and interactions. This is a good opportunity for prospective owners to see a specific breed and discuss the history, care and medical concerns with knowledgeable owners and breeders. Other special events held at the museum include agility exercises, Frisbee and sled pulls.
If you're interested in holding a meeting or special event, the Constellation Room can be rented for this use. Reservations are required.
Find your favorite friend on a coffee mug or T-shirt in the adjoining gift shop. A catalog is available with specialty items.
Don't miss the upcoming quilt show, a special exhibit running August 20th through December 2, 2001. The display will showcase quilts made by dog rescue groups. The quilts will be auctioned with the proceeds going in support of these rescued pets.
Visit the Dog Museum Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm. General admission is $3.00, Children $1.00, Seniors $1.50.
For more information, check out www.akc.org/love/museum or call 314-821-3647.