Museum Menagerie

Watson Galleries, August 24 –December 3, 2022

Museum Menagerie

Museum Menagerie offers a look at animal images found in the collections of the Museums at W&L, several of which are on view for the first time in years. These works include images of domestic, wild, and fantastic animals representing cultures from around the globe.

Through the exhibition and its accompanying programs, the Museums explores the kinds of bonds that humans and animals share, which began as a working relationship more than 15,000 years ago and has evolved into a more pivotal companionship.The theme was sparked by the isolation and loneliness resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the social disruptions that ensued after March 2020, when many households adopted all kinds of pets to provide tangible company and to become sources of support and normalcy.

Our animal companions also have been sources of inspiration for artists from prehistory to the present. Works in this exhibition span roughly three and a half centuries from their dates of creation, and hail from four continents and eleven countries. Types of imagery range from the mythical Pegasus, to fish and fowl, to beloved cats and dogs, to a painting by a chimpanzee. The exhibition invites visitors to delight in the imagery and to consider the many-faceted roles animals play in our modern lives.

This exhibit is supported by programming in partnership with Leyburn Library and the Mudd Center for Ethics’ theme of beneficence and care. Please participate in our Care Lab Pet Project.