return of the moose

While continuing to work on the computer project mentioned a couple of days ago, I came across some of my old photos taken at the Canadian Museum of Nature, situated in the Victoria Memorial Museum Building on MacLeod Street here in Ottawa. The building was begun in 1905, and is a wonderfully eclectic amalgamation of architectural styles – Gothic, Beaux-Arts and Tudor. The exterior is rather like a castle and features incredible stone carvings which employ “nature” as the theme. I’ll try to remember to post some photos of the exterior sometime soon. In the meantime, this image seemed interesting enough to share here on Burning Silo as there’s a bit of a story behind it.

The mosaic of the bull moose in the above photo is located on an expanse of floor that spans the main entrance where three Gothic doorways lead through a foyer and into an immense central atrium. This moose was only recently returned to public view after having been covered by a carpet for about forty years. During the restoration of the museum during the 1990s, the carpet was removed to reveal this wonderful mosaic beneath. According to the museum website:

During the 1950s, a Roman Catholic-school group visited the Museum through the main door, as was the practice back then. A nun with the group objected to the depiction of the bull’s genitals and requested that something be done about it in order to protect the moral values of visiting children. Fearing negative publicity, the Museum covered the mosaic with a carpet. The mosaic remained hidden and all but forgotten until the early 1990s, when the Atrium underwent restoration work and it was decided that the mosaic also be restored.

Isn’t that just a little bizarre? Whatever, it’s good to see the moose returned to his rightful domain.

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