Displays and Exhibits

Displays and exhibits were an important component of Humane Education during this era. As the pictures below illustrate, these events incorporated posters, banners, and other visual elements to attract interest and attention. In some instances these displays were booths in formally organized events such as the National Education Association Convention. In other instances, they were more public in their focus, taking place in the streets or in storefronts, often in conjunction with Be Kind to Animals Week®. In either case, a strong visual component was woven in to these events.

In order to raise both awareness and necessary funds for advocacy efforts and Humane Education, it was important for those involved in these kinds of events to “be seen,” so strategies that created a bit of a public spectacle were often undertaken. For example, in Montreal during the 1923 Be Kind to Animals Week®, the Canadian SPCA used events like the “Silver Trail” to raise the funds to hire an Inspector. This event encouraged citizens of Montreal to lay down silver coins along the street curb, a unique and visually interesting tactic that resulted in “a large amount of money” being collected for the Society’s efforts. In addition to this, the Canadian SPCA had 6 animals–5 dogs and 1 pony–out on the streets of Montreal collecting money, each equipped with a collection box on their back. This part of the fund-raiser brought in more than $1200 for the Canadian SPCA.

The photographic records of these displays are another important aspect of the visual history of Humane Education and allow us to get a glimpse in to what these events would have been like. What the photographs could not capture, however, are the sounds that went along with these displays and exhibits. As you look at the photographs imagine what you might have heard as you stood in front of these booths: the excited voices of the children, the curious inquiries by the passersby, the chatter, the laughter, the casual conversations, or the fond reminiscing about a beloved pet prompted by an image in the display. These were, in other words, not the quiet, stoic events they sometimes look like in these historic photographs.

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Humane Education exhibit in Omaha, c.1920. Photograph published in Our Dumb Animals, 1921. Collection of MSPCA Angell.

Humane Education exhibit in Columbia, South Carolina 1925. Photograph published in Our Dumb Animals, collection of MSPCA Angell.

Humane Education exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia, 1925. Photograph published in Our Dumb Animals, collection of MSPCA Angell.

Humane Education exhibit in Missouri, 1926. Photograph published in Our Dumb Animals, collection of MSPCA Angell.

Humane Education exhibit in Tennessee, 1935. Photograph published in Our Dumb Animals, collection of MSPCA Angell.

Window display at Hyannis Pharmacy, Hyannis Mass., 1939. Photograph published in Our Dumb Animals, collection of MSPCA Angell.

Humane Education exhibit at the National Education Association Convention, Boston, 1941. Photograph published in Our Dumb Animals, collection of MSPCA Angell.


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Comments

  1. This is a real eye-opener. I have decided to rejoice in the fact that there were so many people 100 years ago who cared, too.

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