February 11, 2019
Gensler Unveils an Innovative Design and Digital Visitor Experience for the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in New York City
AKC’s mission is brought to life with an interactive museum experience that educates, engages, and entertains.
NEW YORK — Gensler unveils its design for The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog and the American Kennel Club’s new headquarters in midtown Manhattan. Following Gensler’s first design for AKC’s original NYC headquarters 20 years ago, the architecture and design firm was enlisted to create a workplace and public space that captures the AKC's legacy as the recognized and trusted expert in breed, health and training information for dogs since its founding in 1884.
American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog Returns to NYC
The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog is officially open at its new location, 101 Park Ave, just steps away from Grand Central Station. Initially held in the AKC’s first museum, which opened in New York in 1982, the organization’s extensive canine art collection — one of the largest in the world — has resided in St. Louis, Missouri for the past 30 years. The AKC Museum of the Dog marks the return of these artworks to New York.
The museum is a powerful example of multidisciplinary design that bridges art, education and entertainment. Involving 27 Gensler designers across five areas of expertise, the space serves to showcase AKC’s collection of canine fine art — including paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, sculptures, and bronze and porcelain figurines. The museum also represents the organization’s identity as an advocacy, educational, philanthropic, and research institution.
Key to illustrating this identity are the innovative physical and digital touchpoints that Gensler has designed and integrated throughout the two-story museum, giving new life to the AKC collection in a modern environment. These elements include:
- A visitor journey which begins outside of the entrance to the museum with a digital projection of dogs trotting across the facade, filmed on a green screen and translated into animated silhouettes.
- An 8-foot-tall digitally modeled wireframe Labrador Retriever hanging from the ceiling, illuminated by color-changing LEDs to give a dynamic presence created by Gensler and fabricated by Yellow Goat Design.
- Seven pivoting black steel art display walls that can be rotated for different exhibits and accommodate larger events.
- A “Meet the Breeds” touchscreen table that allows visitors to explore breeds' physical features, traits and history. The tables use data pulled from AKC’s in-depth research and archives, making these resources more available to the public.
- A “Train a Dog on the Job” exhibit that teaches visitors how to train a virtual dog with voice commands and hand signals.
- A “Find Your Match” kiosk that takes your photo, aligning its likeness with an AKC-registered dog breed.
- A Gensler-designed app that displays information and videos about selected artworks. The app includes augmented reality experiences such as a virtual, kid-friendly guide dog named “Arty,” a "Best in Show" vote from the Museum's collection, and AKC-related services.
- A custom-made three-story glass vitrine showcasing rare porcelains and bronzes of AKC breeds, engaging visitors as they walk up to the second level.
- A library holding hundreds of canine-focused reference books that can be reconfigured for public lectures and educational events.
Additional touchpoints include an AKC story wall that displays and communicates AKC's history and its current activities and initiatives, and a children’s activity table with interactive games. The holistic brand program, also by Gensler, includes signage, wayfinding, and print material with a new logo integrated throughout.
A New NYC Headquarters
Located on the fifth floor in the same building as the museum, the workplace design similarly balances tradition and progress by contrasting classical art from AKC’s collection with industrial elements such as concrete, black metal, and white lacquer. Gensler introduced an open-floor layout that offers AKC employees new collaborative work spaces and ensures that everyone has views of natural light. Additionally, Gensler repurposed legacy furniture from the previous headquarters in NYC for the new space, including the original AKC boardroom table and upholstered chairs in the office’s research library.
With its reinvented presence, the AKC’s Museum of the Dog and NYC headquarters share the organization’s mission with a new generation of dog lovers and visitors through memorable experiences and distinctive design.
About the AKC Museum of the DogFounded in 1982, The AKC Museum of the Dog is dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of the art, artifacts and literature of the dog for the purposes of education, historical perspective, aesthetic enjoyment and to enhance the appreciation for and knowledge of the significance of the dog and the human/canine relationship. Located in New York City, the Museum is home to several hundred paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, sculptures, bronzes, and porcelain figurines, a variety of decorative arts objects and interactive displays depicting man's best friend throughout the ages. The AKC Museum of the Dog is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization funded mainly by private and corporate gift donations. For more information on the AKC Museum of the Dog visit www.Museumofthedog.org.