After 32 years in exile in West St. Louis County, Missouri, the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog is finally back in New York City, open now near Grand Central Terminal. Filled with dozens of works of fine art—oil paintings, porcelain figurines, bronze statues—as well as historical artifacts and a few well-executed “digital interactive experiences”, the two-story space welcomes visitors to its new home with an exhibition called “For the Love of All Things Dog”.
The show draws upon the AKC Museum of the Dog’s vast holdings of dog art, numbering in the thousands and considered to one of the largest such collections in the world. Oil paintings of canines (with the occasional human) just doing their thing in ornate gold frames represent the bulk of the exhibition, with a fair number of dimensional work and vintage pieces adding depth and interest.
New to the Museum and created expressly for the NYC opening are a handful of digital kiosks at which guests can control the action. There’s a Train a Dog exhibit, where you teach a digital service dog named Molly to “Come,” “Stay,” and “Twirl.” There’s a Find Your Match kiosk that takes your photo and, completely incorrectly in my case, matches your face with the breed of dog that most looks like you. And there are several Meet the Breeds touchscreen tables which let you explore the history and character (temperament, energy level, trainability) of dozens of different types of dogs.
At the back of the museum’s second floor is an impressive library of dog-related books, including a extensive children’s section. Tables for study and art supplies and activities for kids are available. There were several special dog guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, including longtime NYC gossip columnist Cindy Adams’s Juicy, but note that, as a rule, non-service dogs are not allowed in the building.
The AKC Museum of the Dog is located at 101 Park Avenue, with the entrance on East 40th Street, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under.