All fours

New "Quadrupedia" exhibit open in Maihaugen Gallery

Horse from Gessner bookOur latest exhibit, Quadrupedia: The Animal Kingdom Considered, has just opened in the Maihaugen Gallery (14N-130). Come take a look at how our four-footed friends – and a few foes – are represented in the Libraries’ rare book collections.

Animals orbited the earth before humans did. Dogs, guinea pigs, monkeys, and rats went into space to test the physiological effects of g-force and weightlessness years before the first astronauts suited up. And two hundred years before that, animals were the first balloonists. We’ve got the pictures to prove it.

Back on the earth’s surface, quadrupeds in particular have assisted human development for millennia: they’ve plowed our land, powered our mills, fed us, clothed us, and transported us. But our relationship with animals is complicated. We adopt them as mascots, we ascribe human characteristics to them, we write admiring books about them … and then we bind those books in animal skin.

Gessner monsterThe exhibit includes rare books and visual materials by Linnaeus, Gessner, Audubon, and others published from 1508 to the present. The animals depicted include a skeletal cow, a kitty, and Caliban.

Visit the Maihaugen Gallery Monday-Friday, from 10 am till 4 pm to see some quadrupeds up close. And don’t be afraid of the monster.