“I was walking through the museum the other day and I called it ‘dog heaven,'” says Alan Fausel, Executive Director of the Museum of the Dog. “We received [many of the artworks] from different collectors over the years. Most breeders are passionate about their breed and they’ve given the museum entire collections.”
For the past 32 years the museum was based in West St. Louis County, Missouri, but its location next to a park just wasn’t conducive to the kind of foot traffic the collection deserved. Now back in its original home of NYC (the Museum of the Dog actually opened here in 1982), just steps from Grand Central Station, the two-floor collection of fine art, artifacts, and interactive displays is far more accessible to superfans of man’s best friend than it previously had been.
The museum’s collection is mostly composed of fine art pieces that wouldn’t look out of place above the mantle of a stately mansion, including paintings by skilled and prolific dog artists such as Arthur Wardle, Sir Edwin Landseer, and Maud Earl. In contrast with such traditional art are several digital interactive displays. Visitors can reward a virtual puppy for successfully doing tricks in a training boot camp, then find out which AKC-registered dog breed bears a resemblance to them at the ‘Find Your Match’ photo kiosk.
“People can expect a great collection of dog art from dog fossils from 30 million years ago to a William Wegman photograph, contemporary works and everything in between,” says Fausel, whose favorite piece in the museum is Percival Rosseau’s Leda.
The Museum of the Dog is open to the public 10am-5pm at a cost of $15 for adults and $5 for kids. Sadly dogs are not allowed, aside from service dogs, but Fausel notes that occasionally VIP canines may visit for educational purposes and tummy rubs.