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Goshen touch for Museum of Natural History exhibit

April 15, 2008

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The American Museum of Natural History in New York City will open a major new exhibit titled, “The Horse …Of Course” on May 17, and the Harness Racing Museum has provided items for that show.

According to a Natural History Museum press release, the exhibit will, “examine the powerful and continuing relationship between horses and humans and explore the origins of the horse family, extending back more than 50 million years.” The exhibit will run to Jan. 4, 2009 and is expected to tour other venues, domestic and foreign, after that date.

At the request of Natural History Museum, Harness Racing Museum officials provided three items from their collection, including the Currier and Ives print, “Trotting Cracks at The Forge,” circa 1869, which features a busy farrier shop.

Also shipped was a Houghton Saber sulky, similar to one used by the trotter Lee Axworthy. The Natural History Museum is the repository for the bones of Lee Axworthy, which were given to them by his final owner, H.K. Deveraux. The Harness Racing Museum is in possession of a letter from the horse’s final owner, Mr. Deveraux, telling of his intention to ship the horse’s skeleton to New York, from Lexington, where he died at Castleton Farm in Kentucky in 1918.  Lee Axworthy’s skeleton was exhibited alongside that of the Thoroughbred Sysonby, as the two horses were the fastest of their respective gaits during that era.

The final item loaned for the exhibit is a circa 1958 tin toy sulky and driver, made in Tokyo, from the Jim Brooks Toy Collection.

Photos of the items loaned to the exhibit are available by contacting Gail Cunard at the Harness Racing Museum at (845) 294-6330, or hrmdir@frontiernet.net. The American Museum of Natural History is located at Central Park West at 79th Street, amnh.org, (212) 769-5100. (HRC)

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