The New AKC Museum Of The Dog
We celebrate our passion for purebred dogs every day of our lives – at dog shows, matches, club meetings, social gatherings, and certainly at home with our beloved canine companions. Because we must be the voice for our dogs, we cannot be an echo chamber. With pet ownership and interest in dogs at an all-time high, the time is right for us to share our passion with audiences beyond our core. Our expanding communication platforms such as AKC.tv are exposing more people to our content and messaging on the digital level. Yet even with all of the technological advancements we enjoy, consumers are craving interpersonal connections and new experiences more than ever before. This year, we are continuing to build the groundwork that will allow us to bring the world of purebred dogs to a broader segment of the public in a brand new way. I am delighted to announce that in less than a year, the AKC Museum of the Dog will return to its original home in New York City.
The vision of the AKC Museum of the Dog is to celebrate dogs and the human-canine bond. We remain true to its mission. Through the Museum’s collection of fine art and artifacts, engaging exhibits and evolving programs, visitors will develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for dogs. We will achieve our educational objectives on a greater scale in New York City, where the region is home to approximately twenty million people. The relocation of AKC’s headquarters to a more suitable space at 101 Park Avenue offers the rare opportunity for us to combine our work on behalf of purebred dogs with a dynamic resource for the public.
Queenie Park in St. Louis has been a wonderful host to our Museum, to the extent that what was meant to be a temporary home offered more than thirty-two years of service. We are so grateful to the St. Louis community for their dedicated stewardship of the collection.
In the quest to develop new and expanded audiences, the heart of New York City once again presents itself as the most promising location for the AKC Museum of the Dog. Economic development data show that New Yorkers love dogs, to the tune of well over a million pets in the City. High levels of education and household income in the region are further indicators of demand for cultural entertainment. With approximately six hundred thousand people living within two miles of the Museum’s new site, there is strong potential for a sizeable local membership. Widening that lens, we should also note that New York City welcomes 60 million tourists every year from all over the US and other parts of the world.
Yet, one cannot assume “if we build it they will come.” Experts have told us that when choosing cultural activities, people primarily contemplate entertainment value, the ability to experience something with friends or family, and the potential to expand one’s knowledge or horizons. It is these considerations that will guide the interpretive strategy for our Museum. Interactive platforms and fun aspects of the visitor experience will be key elements in the plan to attract children and youth, as well as the growing seniors market.
Displays of the Museum’s collection and artifacts alongside evolving and interactive content about dog breeds, the AKC and the role of dogs in society will illuminate the human-canine bond and showcase our organization in a completely new and contemporary light. Our aim is to present programming that balances art, education, data and whimsy, so that visitors are inspired to spend time with us and come back repeatedly with their friends and family. We will have more than 17,000 square feet in which to tell the world our story and welcome everyone to the wonderful world of dogs. The statement-making ground floor will host changing exhibits and events and will offer curated retail items in a gift shop. The next floor up will be reachable by an interior staircase and elevator, where the Museum will host the permanent collections and a portion of the AKC Library for public use. Uniquely designed by the award-winning global architecture firm, Gensler, the gallery experience will provide flexibility in a physical sense as well as learning and gathering to maximize interaction with our subjects. Nearby on the fifth floor will be the new home of AKC’s corporate offices. Construction is to begin within a month.
Guiding us in this significant outreach effort is our new Director of AKC Cultural Resources, as well as four enthusiastic new members of the Museum’s Board of Directors. A smooth transition for the artwork is already underway, and a collection management policy is in development. There will be many updates in the coming months as we work toward our 2019 opening. I invite you all to become part of this exciting project. Together we will build a home that pays homage to our traditions, inspires deeper learning, and invites the world to share our passion for purebred dogs.
Ron Menaker, Chairman
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