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New Museum Exhibit Traces Journey of Dogs from ‘Wolf to Woof’

SPRINGFIELD — In today’s society, dogs enhance the lives of millions of people in countless ways, but they are also some of our oldest friends. Ancient clues like cave paintings and burials reveal that dogs and people have lived together for thousands of years. But why have humans formed such close relationships with dogs, and not cows or chickens?

“Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs” is the largest and most comprehensive traveling exhibition ever created on the history, biology, and evolution of dogs. The exhibit, on view at the Springfield Science Museum from Jan. 30 through May 12, attempts to sniff out the facts on dogs and explore what makes the human/dog relationship so unique. It uses the familiarity and love of these four-legged friends to explore science and biological concepts.

The exhibit has four themed sections including multi-media displays, artifacts, photo murals, and dioramas of taxidermied wild canines and sculpted modern dog breeds. Additionally, interactive, hands-on components demonstrate key exhibit concepts. For example, visitors can enter a ‘howling area’ and guess what dogs are saying, test their nose against a dog’s great sense of smell, and examine fossil and genetic evidence of how modern-day dogs are descended from wolves.

The Museums have planned a variety of programs in conjunction with the exhibit, starting with an opening celebration on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The day’s events will include a performance by magician Greg McAdams and his dog Axel, animal demonstrations by Rae Griffiths of Teaching Creatures, and themed art and science activities. All these events are free with museum admission, but there is a $5 special-exhibit fee for visitors ages 3 and up to view “Wolf to Woof.”

In addition, the weekly Museums à la Carte lecture on Thursday, March 17 will feature a talk by Eliot Rusman, president and CEO of Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. Tickets for this lecture are $4 for the general public and $2 for members.

“Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs” is sponsored by United Bank. MassMutual is the 2015-16 Premier Sponsor of the Springfield Museums.

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