Hold on to the reins! The Horse is arriving at the Museum of Civilization

May 27, 2010

Hold on to the reins!
The Horse is arriving at the Museum of Civilization

Gatineau, Quebec, May 26, 2010 — Years of history on the relationship between the horse and the human will be presented at the Canadian Museum of Civilization from May 28, 2010 to January 2, 2011. Premiering in Canada, The Horse looks at how these magnificent animals have changed the course of human history, and how we in turn have changed them.

The Horse celebrates a unique bond between human and animal that has fundamentally transformed both,” says Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “Horses are associated with almost every aspect of the human experience ­— transportation, trade, agriculture, war, industry, spirituality, art, sports and more. No other animal has had such a far-reaching influence on cultures around the world. Canadians in particular love horses and seem to have a strong emotional attachment to them. A first in Canada — don’t miss it!”

The must-see exhibition follows the evolutionary path of the horse, both before and after it was domesticated by humans 6,000 years ago. In that time, we have developed more than 200 breeds whose size, shape, strength and disposition make them suited to specific activities. There are huge, gentle Clydesdales to pull heavy loads, sturdy Argentine Criollos for driving cattle, swift thoroughbreds to race, elegant Friesians for dressage, and spirited Arabians for riding long distances. Horses have also played a role in spirituality and traditional cultural practices around the world, in places as diverse as Burkina Faso, India, Siberia and North America.

The Horse showcases fossils and skeletons, prehistoric cave art and contemporary sculpture, vintage photographs, prints and posters, ceramics, toys, sports equipment, examples of riding gear from around the world, and many other cultural objects. Visitors will admire the full suit of 15th-century German horse armour, the exquisite Samurai saddle from Japan, and the First World War painting of the Canadian cavalry in action.

People of all ages will enjoy the interactive stations where they can touch hoofs and teeth, or see how they measure up against a life-sized bas-relief of a horse. They will be enthralled by the high-definition video of a thoroughbred horse in motion, every rippling muscle magnified on a large screen as its hoofs thunder across the ground. They will unearth intriguing clues about the domestication of horses when they explore the re-creation of an archaeological dig in Kazakhstan.

This international exhibition is organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage in the United Arab Emirates, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the San Diego Natural History Museum.

“Bringing The Horse to the Museum of Civilization gives us an opportunity to incorporate additional artifacts from a number of Canadian sources,” says Dr. Sheldon Posen, Curator of Canadian Folklife at the Museum. “We have added a weathervane, M&#23