New exhibition at the Museum of Civilization explores the relationship between horses and humans

March 17, 2010

New exhibition at the Museum of Civilization
explores the relationship between horses and humans

Gatineau, Quebec, March 17, 2010 — This summer, the Canadian Museum of Civilization is presenting a major exhibition that provides a fascinating, in-depth look at the majestic horse and its remarkably close bond with humans. The Horse opens at the Museum of Civilization on May 28.

The Horse explores the extraordinary influence of equines on human history,” says Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “In the 6,000 years since we domesticated them, horses have changed the way we travel, hunt, fight and farm. Collectively, horses have had a more profound impact on more societies worldwide than any other animal, from ancient to modern times. You could say that we are chomping at the bit to open this show.”

The exhibition will look at the evolution of horses and the many ways in which humans have literally harnessed their power. Today, there are some 200 breeds varying in strength, speed and temperament. Some are suited to recreational riding or racing, others to hauling heavy loads or driving cattle. Horses have also figured prominently in the spiritual beliefs and rituals of diverse cultures.

The Horse will feature fossils, skeletons, models, prehistoric and modern art, dioramas showing life-like prehistoric horses and an archaeological dig, as well as many cultural objects that illustrate the complex interaction between our two species. Among the most striking artifacts are a full suit of horse armour from 15th-century Germany, a painting of the Canadian cavalry in action during the First World War, and an ornate Samurai saddle from Japan.

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 (ADACH), the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the San Diego Natural History Museum.

“The Museum is expanding the Canadian presentation with additional items,” says Dr. Sheldon Posen, Curator of Canadian Folklife at the Museum of Civilization. “These artifacts include a weathervane from our museum, art from the Canadian War Museum, a horse-drawn fire engine on loan from the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology, and Running Horses, the stunning sculptural installation by acclaimed Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard.”

This will be the Museum of Civilization’s first exhibition devoted to this subject. Because the emphasis will be on cultural and historical aspects as well as scientific ones, The Horse is expected to appeal to a wide range of visitors. Adults and teenagers will especially enjoy the spectacular visual elements, videos, interactive stations and hands-on activities. The Museum is planning a series of special events and other programming that will further enhance the visitor experience.

The exhibition will be presented at the Museum of Civilization from May 28, 2010 to January 2, 2011.

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