Published: October 30, 2007
“Pets in America: The Story of Our Lives with Animals at Home,” a lively exhibition examining the special bonds between Americans and their house pets, will open at Winterthur Museum & Country Estate on November 10, and run through January 20.
The family-friendly exhibition offers an endearing and informative look at the history of American’s relationships with their pets from the 1700s to the present. “Today, about two-thirds of American households have a pet,” says Katherine C. Grier, a professor in the Winterthur/University of Delaware program in early American culture and curator of the exhibition.
“While we don’t have statistics for pet ownership in the 1700s and 1800s, we do know that pets have been part of everyday life in American households for hundreds of years †cats, dogs, birds, fishes and even rodents, like mice and squirrels.”
The exhibition looks at the evolving history of animals as pets; the changing role of pets in family life, the importance of kindness to animals, the development of professional medical care for animals, pets as symbols and celebrities, and the marketing of live animals and pet products. Pets in America features more than 200 objects and photographs including pet portraits from the 1800s, a dog treadmill from the 1890s, pet food packaging and advertising, early veterinary medicine, antique collars, pet habitats like birdcages and aquariums, and vintage print ads.
The objects are drawn from public and private collections across the nation. While at Winterthur, the exhibition will feature additional objects selected from the museum’s vast collection of American antiques.
As a special feature of the exhibition, Winterthur will invite visitors to write a story, draw a picture, or post a photo of their favorite pet on a “Post Your Pet” board.
Winterthur will host a series of family events in conjunction with the exhibition. On November 17, Winterthur will have a Pet Fair from 10 am to 4 pm. Families can explore everything about animals, from learning how to care for pets to the history of pets at Winterthur. A family film festival, with pet-related films, will be shown on selected Sundays.
Winterthur is on Route 52, six miles northwest of Wilmington, and five miles south of US Route 1. For information, 800-448-3883, 302-888-4600, or www.winterthur.org .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm