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Dogs Invade Plant Hall in 19th Century Art


Students’ chance of seeing the the Henry B. Plant Museum’s, “Dogs in Art,” is dwindling, as the exhibit, which opened in March, is set to end in December. As its name suggests, the exhibit holds dog-inspired art pieces, going back to when Plant Hall was known as the Tampa Bay Hotel.The exhibit was inspired by hunting dogs that were often present at the hotel during the nineteenth century.

Along with the museum’s own permanent collection, which consists of about 30 artifacts original to the hotel, there are pieces displayed from 14 private lenders and five other museums. One of the most notable pieces is right outside of the museum on the grass. Au Coup de Fusil, a statue of two dogs looking skyward. The statue became Tampa’s first piece of public art after its installation in 1891.

The museum promoted the exhibit with a “dog tour” in March, in which the Museum Relations Coordinator, Lindsay Huban’s dog, Cosmo, let guests see the exhibit “through a dog’s eyes” with the help of a GoPro. Cosmo has even received some fan mail, according to Huban. His GoPro tour can be viewed on Youtube. 

The Henry B. Plant Museum also partnered with the Tampa Theatre, which ran a “Dogs in Film” series showing movies that featured dogs such as The Wizard of Oz. The theater provided coupons to the museum with every ticket guests purchased and the museum did the same for the theatre.

The exhibit prides itself on being kid friendly, with a sort of scavenger hunt throughout the museum in which guests can look for hidden “dogs in art.” According to museum curator, Susan Carter, there are even dogs that can be found in the scaffolding. This is a feature that kids and adults alike are enjoying, according to Carter.

University panels have also been inspired by “Dogs in Art.” On Sunday, Sept. 25, UT psychology professor, Dr. Cynthia Gangi, will be giving a presentation called “Dogs: Man’s Best Friend and Therapist” in Plant Hall’s music room at 2:30 p.m.

“It’s a great introduction to the museum,” Huban said. “Everybody loves dogs. And it’s free,” she added with a laugh.

And it is—for UT students and faculty at least. They just need to show ID at the front desk and they will be given an audio tour guide (optional) and be sent on their way.

However, the exhibit is set to end on Dec. 23. After that, the museum’s Christmas Stroll will be available and the Gasparilla exhibit will run until March, when a new exhibit will be presented.

The museum hosts regular events throughout the year. On First Fridays admission is free for all guests from 5-7 p.m. and the museum has live music. The museum also hosts live theater every Sunday at their Upstairs/Downstairs event, and a newer regular event, Fourth Fridays, which takes place throughout Riverwalk with food and drink and music.

Students should keep in mind that while this is an exhibit about dogs, only service dogs are allowed in the museum.

Ivy Velazquez can be reached at

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