"Art-loving squirrel has blast at museum".

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by togata57, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    I herewith transcribe the following article, which appeared in the July 25, 2009 issue of The Columbus Dispatch. Here's one for all of us who have done battle with these furry rodents!

    Art-loving squirrel has blast at museum
    by Anna Sudar, The Columbus Dispatch
    asudar@dispatch.com

    Staff members at the Columbus Museum of Art were going nuts trying to stop a squirrel from gnawing on an outdoor sculpture.

    The saga began May 12, when museum officials noted gouges on Aristide Maillol's The Mountain, a 5-and-a-half foot tall lead sculpture of a nude woman in the museum's sculpture garden.

    Unsure what was causing the damage to the lady's big toe, Executive Director Nannette V. Maciejunes sent pictures to the McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory in Oberlin (OH), where the culprit was quickly identified.

    "The photographs showed the typical teeth marks of squirrels," conservator Tom Podnar said. "We've seen teeth marks (like this) on the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and at historic houses where they have lead garden ornaments."

    Squirrels are attracted to lead for its sweet taste,said Dirk Shearer, president of the Wildlife Control Company in Dublin (OH). They've been known to chew on old lead pipes or the lead sealants on gravestones.

    The museum's squirrel might have been gnawing on the sculpture to grind down its rapidly growing teeth, Shearer said.

    To curb the nibbling, staff members tried covering the statue with a tarp after hours.
    "He was very persistent," Maciejunes said. "He kept trying to get under the tarp. He had his little head in there looking around."

    Then they considered pouring the urine of another animal around the statue---the territory-marking technique.

    Finally, at the annual staff potluck, Maciejunes announced a contest for the most-innovative squirrel traps. Among the winners: an attractive female squirrel and big-toe decoys.

    Neither required testing, though: last Saturday, the power went out at the museum after a transformer blew when a squirrel electrocuted itself.

    Maciejunes thinks it was the lead-eating, big-toe-chewing art lover.

    To be sure, she'll keep her eyes on The Mountain's toes. And Podnar said he won't start repairs until he knows that the squirrel is gone for good.

    "We have had different things happen to outdoor sculptures, but this took us by surprise," Maciejunes said. "It was an odd little drama."
     
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    This is as good a story as the wallaby in the heroin fields cretaing crop circles. :)

    Liz
     
  3. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Hey, Liz! Just found out that there is a cast of The Mountain---a LEAD cast---at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra! Wonder if it is displayed outdoors...? (!!!)
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Not sure will have a look around on web. Bit far for a look see. May be the possums (native marsupial) have made it a monkey bar. There good at that.

    Looks like our version is the most finished. Maybe the squirrel was trying to panel beat it so it was complete. :)


    http://cs.nga.gov.au/Detail.cfm?IRN=116514
    Liz
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    No doubt the squirrel will die of lead poisoning fairly soon.

    Actually, I'm surprised they're allowed to have a public health hazard like that around at all . . . lead is usually being removed from use wherever possible
     
  6. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Yeah, with a budget crisis going on everywhere for everyone, the art museum should have the statue---and any other spare statues taking up space that could be far better used by a parking lot or Walgreen's---melted down and sell the lead to the government so that more bullets can be made to send to Afghanistan. Excellent! Let us hasten the decline of the arts in the U.S. Might as well get it over with, eh?
     

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