From 'Wolf to Woof,' new exhibit focuses on canine, human connection


The traveling “Wolf to Woof” exhibit now at the Florida Museum of Natural History features four themed sections with artifacts, multimedia displays, photomurals and dioramas.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:42 p.m.

Man's best friend has taken center stage in a new exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Facts

‘Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs’

What: Temporary exhibit billed as the world’s largest exhibition on the history, biology and evolution of dogs features multimedia displays, dioramas and interactive stations

When: Opening celebration is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; exhibit hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 1

Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, 3215 Hull Road

Cost: Admission to the “Wolf to Woof” exhibit is $7 for adults, $6 for Florida residents and seniors, $4.50 for ages 3-17 and free to museum members and UF students with a Gator 1 card; special activities on Saturday are free

Info: 846-2000, www.flmnh.ufl.edu

Facts

'Wolf to Woof' celebration on Saturday

A day of free special activities celebrating the exhibit is planned from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Florida Museum. Demonstrations include Pepe Dogs' detection dogs at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and the Univerity Police Department K-9 unit at noon and 2 p.m. Also featured are agility demonstrations by the Greater Ocala Dog Club. Groups making presentations include the Carolina Dog Society, Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, Patriots PAWS, Red Cross of North Central Florida, Alachua County Human Society, Haile's Angels Pet Rescue and the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs,” a traveling exhibit by Wonderworks, runs through Sept. 1 and will be celebrated Saturday with a day of free activities at the museum.

The exhibit tells the story of how dogs have forged a deep relationship with humans over thousands of years, says Tina Choe, museum exhibit director. It also covers the history, biology and evolution of dogs.

The exhibit is split into four components, each covering a different aspect of the species, Choe says. Visitors can learn about the different types of dogs, how they are related to wolves, how they have helped humans and what we can do to help them.

Some parts of the exhibit are interactive, Choe says. For example, visitors can compare their sense of smell to a dog's or learn what different howls mean.

Not only can visitors learn about dogs and wolves from a distance, they also can see them up close with taxidermy displays.

“There are several wolves, and also all other kinds of canines that are connected to wolves,” Choe said. “It is very well done visually.”

Museum assistant director Paul Ramey says “From Wolf to Woof” is the most comprehensive traveling exhibit created about dogs.

Ramey says it is also special because the museum often has exhibits on paleontology or archeology. “I can't remember the last time we had an exhibit like this one,” he says.

Choe says “Wolf to Woof” received a lot of attention when museum staff members were deciding on the next exhibit.

“All of us are dog-owners or love dogs,” she said. “And Gainesville is a very dog-friendly town.”

She says the museum wanted to highlight how special and unique the relationship between dogs and humans is.

Saturday's opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. features different dog-related organizations, including First Colony Exhibit Research, which will bring along a dog skeleton found at a dig used in research, Patriot PAWS and the Gainesville Humane Society, says Tiffany Ireland, a museum educator and coordinator of the event.

Pepe Dogs will feature demonstrations by detection dogs at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and the University Police Department K-9 unit will offer demonstrations at noon and 2 p.m.

Another group will bring Carolina Dogs, also called American Dingos, which research has shown to be native to North America. And groups like the Greater Ocala Dog Club will bring dogs to demonstrate agility.

As for the exhibit, Ireland says its nothing short of exciting.

“There is a lot of information for the scientist in all of us,” she says.

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