The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, located at 1721 S. Mason Rd., in beautiful Queeny Park, West St. Louis County, Missouri, is home to the world's finest collection of art devoted to the dog. The 14,000 sq. ft. facility, which includes historic Jarville House (1853), displays over 500 original paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, sculptures in bronze and porcelain, and a variety of decorative arts objects depicting man's best friend throughout the age. On permanent display is Sir Edwin Landseer's oil on canvas of a Deerhound and Recumbent Foxhound and many Maud Earl portraits of various terrier breeds.
The Museum is open year-round and available to visitors Tuesday - Saturday from 10 AM - 4 PM, and Sundays 1 PM - 5 PM (closed Mondays and holidays). Queeny Park, home of the Museum, is accessible from highway/interstate 40/64 at the Mason Rd. exit or from I-270 by taking the Manchester exit to Mason Rd.
The Museum Gift Shop offers a wide array of gift items for you and your companion pet including tapestry pillows, ceramic and jeweled dog dishes, books on dogs, umbrellas, stationary, T-shirts, and jewelry, as well as one of a kind objects exclusive to The Dog Museum.
A book and video library is available by appointment for research on purebred dogs and animal artists.
The Museum also offers indoor and outdoor rental space for business meetings, dog club activities, and special events.
How It All Began
The genesis of The Dog Museum was a meeting held in 1971 by members of the Westminster Kennel Club. It was their intention, besides presenting the pre-eminent dog show in the country, to "improve the life of the dog through humane education, to gather and add knowledge on the care and history of the dog, and to develop and support a museum of art and books focusing on the dog." From this initial resolution, a group of interested people, members of the Westminster club, their wives and other interested parties formed the Westminster Kennel Club Foundation to pursue these aims.
In 1973 the foundation conducted a survey to see the level of support for such a project. The results were encouraging and a brochure sent out to solicit funds brought in some financial donations as well as gifts of art and books. Invitations were sent out by the Westminster Kennel Club in February 1979 to a meeting of a diverse group of dog fanciers at which it was decided that an affiliation was needed with an organization with broader contacts. The American Kennel Club was the most fitting solution. The following June, the AKC established the American Kennel Club Foundation. Its specific goal was to set up a museum and library of the dog. The next step was the selection of a director for the museum and in May 1981 William Secord started work as the first director of what was then known as The Dog Museum of America. The AKC had space available at their headquarters in the New York Life Building at 51 Madison Avenue in New York, into which the fledgling museum promptly moved. The first exhibit opened on 8 February 1982; it was entitled "The Museum Collects." An elegant party was held to commemorate the event. The museum officially opened to the public on 15 September 1982 with an exhibition called "Best of Friends: The Dog and Art."
From the beginning, dog-related corporations have been most generous to the museum. A gift from the Gaines Dog Research Center formed the core of the museum library. The active participation of Hill's Pet Products started in 1983 when they underwrote an exhibition called 'The Dog Observed." lams has sponsored exhibitions, Ralston Purina and Pedigree/KalKan have endowed galleries in the museum and provided other services and funds as well. J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc. has provided equipment and grants. The Westminster Foundation has continued their generous support. By 1985 it was apparent that The Dog Museum was outgrowing its loaned space at 51 Madison Avenue. It seemed a good time to become a separate entity and search for a location elsewhere. Five cities (Denver; Los Angeles; Pebble Hill, Georgia; Orlando; and St. Louis) invited the consideration of the board of directors. The board, chaired by Mrs. Robert V. Lindsay and the president of the museum, Mrs. Dorothy Welsh, voted to move to St. Louis in September of 1986. By November of 1987 the move had been completed into Jarville House, the charming Monsanto Greek Revival house in the 570-acre Queeny Park outside St. Louis. An addition to the museum increasing the total space to 14,000 sq. feet was opened in the spring of 1991. The carriage house adjacent to Jarville House was transformed into a museum shop which overlooks the Charing Cross Courtyard, the gift of Mr. Gilbert S. Kahn. The museum addition provided the museum with four more galleries and a very large community room used by local dog clubs, civic groups and individuals.
Again, generous financial support was forthcoming to help in the construction of this fine facility from the County of St. Louis, private individuals and corporations as well as the museum's original supporter, the Westminster Kennel Club.
By 1995 it became clear to the board of directors that while the museum's collection of art was increasing in both volume and value, the financial support was not keeping pace. A re-affiliation with the AKC was completed in October of 1995 and the official name of the museum became The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog.