Creature Comfort: Animals in the House at the Shelburne Museum

1 February - 12 October 2020

6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT

According to a 2017/18 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 85 million families, or 65% of all households in the United States includes at least one animal companion. Experts expect these numbers to continue to skyrocket in the coming years. The statistics worldwide are even more staggering, revealing our species innate need for companionship, a hallmark trait specific to mammals. Our love of animals manifests itself in a myriad of ways in our domestic lives, including interior decoration.

Drawing heavily from Shelburne Museum’s permanent collection and supplemented by strategic loans from contemporary artists and private collectors, this exhibition will explore the creative ways animal forms have been adapted to create a wide range of beautiful and functional household objects. Ranging in date from the 18th century to the present day, the selected decorative art objects explore complex themes related to animal/human bonds, including domestication, emotional connections, and ethical treatment. The exhibition will be organized thematically by animal species and displayed in settings designed to evoke domestic interior spaces.