Dog and Cat Lovers, Museums, and Pinterest


Much has been written about how museums (and non-profits in general) can make use of Pinterest as a tool for reaching audiences. Museums are in the business of displaying objects, and Pinterest is a user-friendly way to share images of objects from a museum’s collection, including objects not currently on display in the physical museum. While certainly not the be-all-and-end-all of user access to digitized collections, Pinterest is one of many useful tools for museums and museum-lovers.

Anyone can join Pinterest and use the site to make their own collection of images. Thus, professional/hobbyists can put together their own collections of museum objects based on their particular interests. In my case, I made a board of pictures of dogs and cats from my Weekly Museum Visits. Looking at these images all at once, I can see the variety of contexts in which pets are part of several museums. What are these dogs and cats doing, besides being adorable?

  • In art museums, they are the subjects of paintings, carvings, and sculptures.
  • In historic house museums, they are in photos of the once-residents’ beloved pets, they are decorative motifs, and they are memorialized in a pet cemetery.
  • In history museums, dogs are the companions and/or service dogs of historical figures.
  • In science museums, they are part of an exhibit about mammalian evolution.
  • They are miniatures in dollhouses, train gardens, and Nativity scenes.
  • They are depicted in children’s toys and books.
  • They are found on items for sale in the gift shop.
  • Some history museums show sketches of old town scenes with people, horses, and sometimes a dog frolicking and looking up expectantly at the people.
  • A cat in mannequin form helps set the scene in a historic train station.
  • In a political cartoon from the Civil War era, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis are portrayed as cats.

Museums themselves have also made Pinterest boards to share dogs and cats in their collections with audiences. Here are some that I found:

Do you follow any museums on Pinterest? Do you have a favorite board?

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February’s blog theme is Visitor Motivations.

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About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
This entry was posted in Articles and Books, Lists of Museums and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dog and Cat Lovers, Museums, and Pinterest

  1. We had a bring your dog to work day in the fall that was very successful at our small prehistoric museum. We are also going to have a Bow-wow in the fall. (We ran this one by our Native American tribal consultants to be certain that this would not be an offensive take-off on a Powwow)

  2. Laura DiSciullo says:

    I always like to see museums reach out to canine audiences! 🙂 What happens at a Bow-wow?

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