Exhibitions: Animals Under Ten Inches

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    Luce Center for American Art

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    Animals Under Ten Inches

    • Dates: May 17, 1940 through September 30, 1940
    • Organizing Department: Natural History ?
    Press Releases ?
    • May 19, 1940: An unusual menagerie with the title “Animals Under Ten Inches” opens as an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum on Sunday, May 19th, in the Mezzanine Gallery, and will be on view through Sunday, September 29th. Animals shown vary from wild and fierce to tame and domestic, and none of them are over ten inches high.

      They were brought together as a result of an expedition through the Museum by the Institution’s editor and amateur naturalist, Theodore “Buck” Starr, Jr., who ran them down in the Egyptian, Classical, Costa Rican, Mexican, American Indian, African, Chinese and Sculpture collections.

      The public is separated from the beasts, reptiles, birds and insects by glass panels and slender bars. Although habitat groups have not been formed, the animals are shown standing on sand formations in nineteen cages, in one of which, the aviary, is a "candelabra pine.” Visitors are admonished by placards not to feed or annoy the animals.

      Among the fierce specimens of beasts are a bronze Coptic lion, one by Barye, famous French sculptor, and a Pennsylvania Dutch wooden lion. Another specimen in a dangerous category is an Aztec stone jaguar from Mexico. An unusual pair is the blue faience mother hippopotamus and child, of the Egyptian 12th Dynasty.

      The cages of reptiles contain, in one, six varieties of crocodiles – Egyptian limestone, Egyptian faience, Costa Rican pottery, Costa Rican limestone, African Congo wood, and a Barye bronze; and in the other an Egyptian bronze cobra eyeing a mongoose. The inevitable monkeys are small ones of Egyptian limestone, ivory and faience, and larger ones of English slipware, Costa Rican limestone and pottery, and a modern American bronze monkey.

      Wild but gentle animals on view are a pale blue Egyptian faience gazelle, and two in bronze by Barye. The transitional classes from wild to tame are represented by an Egyptian bronze crouching cat, another in bronze by Barye, and an Egyptian mother cat and kittens in bronze. A Chinese Tang pottery water buffalo leads into the purely domestic specimens, which include horses, bulls and cows - one of the latter of Staffordshire pottery being bitten by a snake - pigs, sheep, a dog, birds, and an assortment of insects from China of wire, silk and paper including a scorpion, centipede, spider, praying mantis and a crocheted lizard.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 05-06/1940, 092. View Original

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    Natural History

    In its early years, the Brooklyn Museum also offered Natural History collections and exhibitions to visitors. These collections were dismantled and transferred to other institutions, including the Brooklyn Children's Museum, beginning in the 1930s.
    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
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