Currently, the travelling exhibition “Identity and Restraint: Art of the Dog Collar” is on at the AKC Museum of the Dog in New York City. The exhibition runs April 5 to September 4, 2023 then travels to the Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville, Georgia from November 3, 2023 to May 3, 2024 – if you’re closer, see it there.
I saw the exhibition at the AKC Museum of the Dog (MoD) on a recent trip to NYC, without my pup. You can take your dog to see the exhibit on certain days only – more on that coming up.
But first, the MoD exhibition and museum.
The AKC Museum of the Dog in NYC
The Museum of the Dog is on my must-see stops every time I visit New York City, and my annual visit to the 147th Westminster Dog Show was no exception, even if the dog show was held in Queens and not Manhattan in 2023. Note the #7 subway line goes directly from Main Street Queens to Grand Central Station and the AKC Museum of the Dog is on 101 Park Avenue, one block from the front door of that impressively beautiful Beaux-Arts architectural-style station.
What I’m saying is you should see both Grand Central Station and The Museum of the Dog next time you’re in NYC. Oh, and stop by Bryant Park in the summer, especially with the dog. I’d only been to park in the winter, and didn’t appreciate it’s full splendor until I visited when the fountain was on, the carousel was open, and dogs were spending the afternoon with their people in the sun.
Identity and Restraint
Like most temporary exhibits at the Museum of the Dog, “Identity and Restraint: Art of the Dog Collar” draws from the museum’s permanent art collection. This collection is choke full of historic and contemporary paintings, sculptures, photographs, and drawings of mostly purebred dogs, individually or depicted in a context.
In the case of “Identity and Restraint,” the artworks are paired with artifacts – specifically dog collars – from the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, Virginia. The exhibition explores dog collar uses during the last five centuries. Yes, we’ve been collaring dogs that long.
Highlights of “Identity and Restraint” including the following:
- 63 antique dog collars
- 50 artworks, mostly historic paintings
- 1 actual wood St. Barnard barrel collar (and painting depicting a rescue)
- 1915 military dog collar used to send messages during WWI
- Collars from a private collection of 128 donated to the National Sporting Library and Museum
Essentially, this exhibition depicts the good, the bad, and the beautiful of dog collars. Good collars depict the dog’s name, its identity and status in our homes for centuries. The bad reveals the use of pronged and restraint collars on dogs whose purpose it was to hunt and protect from predators, some as large as lions or bears.
The beautiful are ornamental and elegant, many aristocratic brass cuff collars. Some are embedded with stones, others backed with felt or leather, and many with small locks and even tinier keys. The latter indicating the length of time our best friends endured these metal adornments or shackles, depending on your point of view.
Speaking of point of view, how or why these collars were used are depicted in paintings positioned beside the collars. In many paintings, the dogs sport almost identical collars to the artifacts encased nearby.
The exhibition has me thinking how interesting the role of dog museum curator must be creatively drawing from the permanent collection to create new themed exhibits sometimes. And other times, incorporating other museum’s artifacts in a way that tells a story about the centuries-old human relationship to dogs.
Is the AKC Museum of the Dog pet-friendly?
Oddly, no. The AKC Museum of the Dog does not generally permit dogs inside – unless you’re there on specific Fridays and pre-book your dog-friendly visit. The next Furry Friday is May 19, 2023. Twice a month, the museum permits people with their well-behaved canines to stroll the gallery from 6 to 8 pm. Tickets are free to members, but cost $20 per person for non-members and $5 for dogs. Signing a waiver is required, and so are advanced ticket purchases.
Furry Fridays at the AKC Museum of the Dog continue on the following dates:
- June 2, 2023, 6 to 8 pm.
- June 16, 2023, 6 to 8 pm.
- July 21, 2023, 6 to 8 pm.
- August 25, 2023, 6 to 8 pm.
The exhibit, “Identity and Restraint: Art of the Dog Collar” will be accessible during all the above dog-friendly Furry Friday dates.
When is the AKC Museum of the Dog open?
The AKC Museum of the Dog at 101 Park Avenue, New York City, is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm. (Last entry at 5 pm). Admission is $15 for adults, and dogs are only permitted on select Furry Fridays. “Identity and Restraint: Art of the Dog Collar” exhibition runs until September 4, 2023.
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.