Monday, April 17, 2017

Bruce the Moose: Around The World From 80 Countries

My last posts were about some small items that we did not include in the around-the-world exhibition.  We also omitted a very large item because it was in the “artifact hospital.”

 One of our many taxidermy specimens is a large moose, killed in Saskatchewan, Canada in the 1920s and carefully measured and packed out to a taxidermist in Seattle.  At the time of its donation, the moose was said to be the second largest mounted moose.  The antlers span 54 inches; fortunately they detach to make it easier to move. For many years, this moose stood in the main hallway of the old Horner Museum at Oregon State University where he was admired by many. 

John B. Horner and students at the campus museum in Corvallis, Oregon.
Visitors often patted his sides and over time his coat began to deteriorate from the handling. Even though it has not been on display since the Benton County Museum acquired the Horner Collection, many people fondly remember “Bruce the Moose” as he was dubbed. Last year, the Benton County Museum's board decided to employ a conservator to refurbish this iconic moose. Among other tasks, the conservator, Tom Fuller, had to reshape broken ears, remake the tail, fix some seams which were coming apart, and fill in the bare patches on the fur. 

"Bruce the Moose" under the care of museum conservator Tom Fuller.
Bruce the Moose was still in rehab when the around-the-world exhibition opened. He is now looking well and will be on display after the new museum building opens in downtown Corvallis. (To learn more about the new building, go to

Moose are not native to Oregon, although in 1922, an attempt was made to introduce them.  Six were shipped in from Alaska, exhibited in Portland, and released in the Roseburg area.  One died during transport, one was killed by a train, and one was shot as “a local pest.”  The other three did not survive long enough to create a local population of this animal.

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

Note: Bruce the Moose is one of the many artifacts in the Benton County Historical Society artifact collection which fits the theme of the 2017 “Around The World From 80 Countries” exhibition but is not currently on public display. 

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