After being in Missouri for 32 years, the AKC Museum of the Dog is a getting a new leash on life.
The American Kennel Club’s repository of canine-related art will now be dog housed at the club’s headquarters at 101 Park Ave. in Midtown Manhattan, two blocks south of Grand Central Station.
This is actually a homecoming for the museum, which originally opened in New York City in 1982. It moved to St. Louis in 1987 and for the past three decades was at the historic Jarville House in Queeny Park in Missouri’s West St. Louis County.
An AKC spokesperson explained that the museum was taken back to Manhattan in order to bring its fine art collection to a larger audience. The move will also put the museum and the organization’s archive under one roof.
This time, the museum is going 2.0 with interactive exhibits. A “Find Your Match” kiosk takes your picture and aligns your likeness with an AKC-registered dog breed, while a “Meet the Breeds” touchscreen table teaches visitors about the physical features, personality traits, and history of each of the 193 breeds recognized by the AKC.
Another tail-wagging new experience is an app letting youngsters interact throughout the museum with Arty, a virtual dog/tour guide.
In one exhibit, kids and adults can “train” a screen avatar of a Labrador retriever using a system that detects voice and hand signals.
All that is along with the museum’s traditional core collection: art by famous dog painters and sculptors (like Sir Edwin Henry Landseer and Maud Earl), and a two-story glass vitrine encasing rare doggy collectors’ pieces. Visitors can also fetch souvenirs and books at a new gift shop.
The AKC Museum of the Dog officially reopens on February 8. Hours are Tues–Sat, 10 am–5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for seniors and children under 12: https://museumofthedog.org