Museum Menagerie

Watson Galleries, August 24 –December 3, 2022

Museum Menagerie

About the Exhibition

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.

Museums at Washington and Lee University

Events and Programming

Animal Trivia - Brew Ridge Taps

September 13, 2022: 6 p.m.

Join us for an animal-themed trivia night at Brew Ridge Taps to celebrate the opening of Museum Menagerie. Teams are limited to 6 players, and a grand prize will go to the winning team!

Opening Reception

September 15, 2022: 6 – 7 p.m.
Watson Galleries

Join the Museums at W&L for food and refreshment for the opening of Museum Menagerie. Opening remarks by Senior Curator of Art Patricia Hobbs at 6:15 p.m.

Board Game Safari

September 20, 2022: 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Watson Galleries

Join the Museums at W&L and Just Games Lexington for a free evening of animal-themed board games at the Museum Menagerie. The event is open to all W&L community members and their families (ages 12 and up). A reservation is required for each attendee and seating is limited!

Lunch and Learn - Animal Edition

Mondays in October, 2022: 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Watson Galleries

Bring your lunch and join the Museums at W&L for a series of short and informal lectures inspired by animals and the temporary exhibit, Museum Menagerie, to be held in the Watson Galleries each Monday in October from 12:15 – 1:15. The Museums will provide drinks and desserts.  A reservation is required for each attendee, and seating is limited!

Carelab Pet Project

November 1, 2022

Submit an image of your pet and share what you have learned about care from the animals in your life. Pet Project entries will be exhibited, without identifying information about the participant, in online, social media, and in-person formats. A large-scale Pet Project exhibition will open on the main floor of Leyburn Library on November 1, 2022.

The Psychology of Human-Animal Relationships: Lecture and Gallery

November 9, 2022: 5 – 7 p.m.
Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library

The Museums at W&L, the Mudd Center of Ethics, and the University Library are excited to present Carelab speaker, Megan Mueller, Ph.D. Dr. Mueller will discuss how understanding our animal relationships can help us better understand ourselves and connect to others. Please join us afterward for a Museum Menagerie gallery reception at the Watson Galleries, where food and drinks will be served.