Southampton Historical past Museum Explores Pets in New Exhibition

Southampton Background Museum is kicking off the 2022 period with a new exhibition all about pets. Open May well 4 to December 31, Puppies, Ponies & Pussycats: Tails of Southampton appears at the romantic relationship concerning people and our animals, how that marriage has changed, and what hasn’t altered, more than the past 150 yrs.

The display presents a collection of historic and modern day photos of folks and their pets, a choice of classic pet-associated objects and artwork by a few regional modern day artists concentrated on domestic animals, which includes Southampton residents Kimberly McSparran, Rachelle Oatman and Dinah Maxwell Smith.

Southampton Historical past Museum Explores Pets in New Exhibition
Dog doorstops c. 1900Southampton Heritage Museum

“My intent was to present how our deep love of animals has transformed minor in excess of the previous 150 many years,” explains Southampton Background Museum Executive Director Tom Edmonds, who curated the demonstrate with aid from his staff. “The exhibit delivers alongside one another our shared romance with those incredible beings that are in our care,” he provides, noting that this show was 16 many years in the producing. “I imagined, if individuals have been residing with domesticated animals for 30,000 a long time, why not rejoice that romance? Like for our animals may be even more powerful today than in the earlier.”

In a narrative about Puppies, Ponies & Pussycats: Tails of Southampton, museum archivist Mary Cummings describes the evolving human-animal bond, pointing out that, several a long time ago, animals were being integral to a family members for what they could give, and it experienced practically nothing to do with adore or companionship. “It was after a a lot more practical make any difference: In exchange for foods and shelter, animals hauled, herded, gave up their milk and from time to time their lives to be cooked and consumed at the meal desk,” she writes, whilst also acknowledging that farmers did expand fond of their animals, but they undoubtedly weren’t bringing animals into their beds, pushing them all around in newborn strollers or dressing them in sweaters, booties and raincoats.

Rabbit Napkin Ring c. 1900, Southampton History Museum Collections
Rabbit Napkin Ring c. 1900, Southampton Historical past Museum CollectionsSouthampton History Museum

“The human-animal bond has tightened and the checklist of species, adored and sometimes obsessed more than as pets, has expanded,” Cummings carries on, noting that, of study course, canines and cats keep on being the leading two most well-known animals. “Rabbits are an unpredicted 3rd,” she points out, detailing how the perception of rabbits adjusted from food items to pet in 1900 when “a fad for elevating Belgian hares altered attitudes toward butchering bunnies and individuals shed their taste for rabbit stew.” Then, in 1904, “Beatrix Potter’s Benjamin Bunny clinched the improve.”

Amongst the objects to be exhibited at the museum, a circa 1900 rabbit serviette ring demonstrates how the Belgian hare fad introduced the animal to the meal desk in an entirely various way.

"Barnyard Chickens" c. 1920, Southampton History Museum Collections
“Barnyard Chickens” c. 1920, Southampton Heritage Museum CollectionsSouthampton Historical past Museum

Cummings also describes a “chicken mania” in the mid 19th century that elevated chickens’ standing when lots of in the nation were being awestruck by Chinese ornamental chickens termed Cochin. Tails of Southampton options paintings honoring the beloved birds, such as “Barnyard Chickens” from 1920, and a wonderful 2022 hen portrait, “Bruce in Utah,” by Dinah Maxwell Smith.

"Bruce in Utah" by Dinah Maxwell Smith, 2022
“Bruce in Utah” by Dinah Maxwell Smith, 2022Southampton History Museum

Meanwhile, a pair of pet dog paintings, pulled from a variety of will work in the exhibit, juxtapose two eras, with Emile Bujon’s 1831 portrait of two Basset Hounds, “Blanchette and Romano,” and Rachelle Oatman’s 2022 piece, “The K-9 Committee,” anthropomorphizing a trio of socialite guests at a Southampton Hospital fundraiser, just about every painted with a unique pet head. A choice of puppy-formed doorstops — section of an array of pet-themed toys, dishes, financial institutions, pillows and other objects on view from the museum collection — additional demonstrates the totemic ubiquity of man’s greatest friend.

"Blanchette and Romano" by Emile Bujon, 1831
“Blanchette and Romano” by Emile Bujon, 1831Southampton History Museum

Southampton people began photographing their animals in the 1870s and go on the practice right now, nevertheless celluloid film and cyanotype prints are now changed with digital drives and Instagram stories. But, as the museum proves, men and women dressed their animals for pictures heading back again extra than a century. For example, a 1910 photo depicts two ponies bedecked in butterfly wings and bouquets pulling an similarly frilly carriage with two very little girls in fairy costumes (see major of page).

Edmonds organized the historic pictures and objects on dusty rose-colored partitions in a conventional, 19th century type, while contemporary displays are mounted on contemporary white walls in the centre. “It appears to be like a UFO landed in the center of a Victorian era parlor,” he suggests.

"The K-Nine Committee" by Rachelle Oatman, 2022
“The K-9 Committee” by Rachelle Oatman, 2022Southampton Historical past Museum

Visitors to Puppies, Ponies & Pussycats: Tails of Southampton will get pleasure from all types of animal-themed artwork and furnishings, possibly hand-produced or manufactured, from the past 150 decades. Some objects in the exhibition have been donated and are now part of Southampton Record Museum’s collection, although other folks are on personal loan from nearby citizens — a actuality that confirms the community’s really like of animals not only endures as a robust tradition, it will continue to grow over generations.

For much more details and several hours, take a look at

Rose de Rose with pets, photo c. 1910, Southampton History Museum Collections
Rose de Rose with pets, photo c. 1910, Southampton History Museum CollectionsSouthampton Historical past Museum
"Winnie the Koi Watcher" by Kimberly McSparran, 2022
“Winnie the Koi Watcher” by Kimberly McSparran, 2022Southampton Historical past Museum