A trip to the Museum of Civilization to see The Horse

A young public servant, Mike Cullen is also a regular contributor to (Cult)ure Magazine as a music editorialist. His passions include music, coffee, writing, travel and comic books.

The Museum of Civilization’s “The Horse” is a must see exhibit.

On my first ever trek to the Museum of Civilization to see something other than an IMAX film, I was pleasantly surprised to find not only the exhibition halls incredible, but the thought and effort put into this special exhibit to be one of the best I have ever witnessed.

This is not an exhibit just for horse enthusiasts. As a graduate with an Honours degree in History, I found the exhibit incredibly informative not only with regards to the biological evolution of the steed, but also on the impact that horses have had on mankind. Depending on where the animal was found in the world, it could have been used for farming (Europe), cattle herding (United States and Canada), as a source of food in its own right (areas of ancient Asia, and areas of modern day Siberia), or even downright worshipped for its godliness (Southern India).

“The Horse” has been thoughtfully laid out over the course of approximately ten rooms, with the first few solely devoted to the evolution of the horse, including archaeological evidence of its use in the ancient world, and modern day species. The remaining rooms are laid out thematically in a variety of examples, including “war”, “spirituality”, and “sport” to name a few. It was while going through the exhibition that I began to fully realize just how important the horse has been to mankind. Along with the dog and cattle, the horse is probably one of the most significant domesticated animals that got mankind out of the Stone Age; its impact is not only broad but deep within human civilization. I had never really considered the horse as an important tool dragging mankind out of the Stone Age, but after seeing this exhibit and seeing what the horse has had to offer, I definitely look at this majestic beast in a new light.

Three things I learned from this exhibit:

  1. You can milk a horse – there is also a group currently living in modern day Siberia that make an alcoholic beverage made from fermented horse milk
  2. Though horses do not naturally reside in South India, there visages are used in art (specifically pottery), and worshipped for their god-like qualities
  3. The earliest horses were the size of medium-sized dog

“The Horse” is on exhibit at the Museum of Civilization until January 2, 2011.

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