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The Columbus Dispatch : Sculpture-Loving Squirrel Has Blast at Museum


Animals  (tags: culture, squirrel, museum, drama, lead, sculpture, nude woman )

Raffi
- 3642 days ago - columbusdispatch.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 noticed gouges on Aristide Maillol's The Mountain, a 51/2-foot-tall lead



   

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Raffi LidoRoiz (301)
Saturday July 25, 2009, 12:31 pm
Sculpture-loving squirrel has blast at museum
Rodent gnawed on statue at Columbus Museum of Art
Friday, July 24, 2009 10:35 PM
By Anna Sudar
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
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 noticed gouges on Aristide Maillol's The Mountain, a 51/2-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, 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. 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."
 

Mathew Wallace (1159)
Saturday July 25, 2009, 12:48 pm
Brilliant - heart warming !!!
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 25, 2009, 3:55 pm
Thanks Raffi. Poor squirrel, addicted to lead toes. Hope it was not him that got electrocuted. I wonder how to protect both art and rodents from this situation?
 

Tierney G (381)
Saturday July 25, 2009, 4:52 pm
Strange that they like lead. i can't see how that could be good for them!
Thanks Raffi
 

Lyn C (70)
Saturday July 25, 2009, 5:49 pm
Poor squirrel, whatever one it was. Squirrels will chew on wood, to both wear down their quickly growing teeth, and the babies just seem to like chewing on the tree trunks and branches in my yard. One year we had a mother squirrel with six babies. The only reason we knew the number was that we just happend to be looking out the window as mom was transferring them to another larger nest.

We watched as mom squirrel went up the tree to the nest, come down with a tiny baby in her mouth and run up another tree with a huge nest. She did this five times in all, with what suspect was her oldest and bravest baby running behind her with every trip up and down the trees. It was quite a sight to see, and one we've never seen again!

Lync
 

Joycey B (750)
Saturday July 25, 2009, 6:49 pm
Such an unusual thing. Never heard of one doing this. Thanks Raffi.
 

Elm Morrison (357)
Friday July 31, 2009, 4:00 pm
Poor squirrel. Thanks Raffi
 
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