Paintings on the wall of the Museum of the Dog
American Kennel Club

This travel news is anything but 'ruff'. On February 8, 2019, the American Kennel Club reopens the Museum of the Dog. With a new location close to Grand Central Station and a new focus with fresh exhibits, it's guaranteed to put a wag in the tail - er_, make that a smile on the face -_ of travelers young and old.

For the past 30 years, the Museum of the Dog was located in St Louis and it has recently been relocated to occupy space within the American Kennel Club's New York City headquarters. As per its mandate, the Museum of the Dog is "dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of the art, artifacts and literature of the dog for the purposes of education, historical perspective, aesthetic enjoyment". In recent years, the St Louis location struggled with attendance, with fewer than 10,000 guests visiting in 2018. As the only dog-themed museum in New York City, one of the world's great museum destinations, there's hope that the museum's unique niche and prime location will boost attendance tenfold.

The museum is home to the world's largest collection of dog-themed fine art. We're not talking about pooches playing poker! It has hundreds of pieces, including vintage advertising prints, rare bronze statues, watercolours, sketches, and porcelain figurines showcasing dogs and the canine-human bond over hundreds of years. There are also portraits of royal and presidential pets (noted good boys and girls in their own right) and fossils that trace canine development back an estimated 30 million years. However, fans of the loveable mutt might be disappointed to know that there's a strong emphasis on purebred dog breeds in the collection.

The American Kennel Club is the oldest purebred dog registry in the United States. For canine-focused researchers, the American Kennel Club headquarters is already well known for its library and archives. The museum's unique interactive activities - such as taking a photo and having it digitally aligned to determine which AKC dog breed you most resemble - brings the club from the realm of serious hobbyist to something any dog lover or curious traveler will love.

While the Museum of the Dog is a celebration of all things canine, travelers should note that dogs aren't actually allowed in the museum itself. Rover and Molly will have to stay at home! At a cost of $15 per adult ($5 per child and $10 per senior) perhaps that's for the best. As well, with the exception of possibly some future special events, live dogs are not part of the exhibits or presentations. While this is undoubtedly disappointing for anyone hoping for a furry cuddle, it will be a welcome relief for allergic travelers.

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