By Patty Clark
Ames247 Staff Writer
The Petersen Panthers are two sculptures that were created by Petersen in his earlier years before coming to Iowa State University. They originally sat on two cobble stone posts at the entry way of the Wildacres estate in Rhode Island and were later moved to the grounds of Middlebury College in Vermont.
A little over a decade ago, University Museums had been going through some of Petersen’s kept papers and discovered a picture of the panthers on the Wildacres estate. A search for the panthers soon began so they could be added to the art on campus at Iowa State.
In 2010, the Petersen Panthers were found at Middlebury College and eventually made their way into the hands of University Museums.
Soon the panthers were restored by Francis Miller, an art conservator for Conservart in Hamden, Conneticut who has done other conservation work to the art on campus. After the restoration, the Panthers now look as they did when Petersen first created them.
The Panthers arrived at Iowa State on Monday, and are now awaiting the”official” public reveal during the Veishea parade.
Though people walking on campus can see them right now, they are not being placed in the permanent spots just yet. Because the panthers arrived earlier this week, they still need to have the site prepped for Saturday so the installation is quick and simple. Also, one of the panther sculptures needs to be carved a little more so that it can properly fit into its spot and look well done. The sculptures are covered every night throughout the week to protect them from any sort of damage.
Allison Sheridan, the communications coordinator for University Museums explained that “though people think that the panthers were not going to be revealed until Saturday, it’s hard to avoid them not seeing the panthers.”
“When people walk by, it’s interesting to see that they are surprised to see the sculptures already. And then they comment on how cool they are, because they are a different type of sculpture compared to the others.”
Sheridan said the Anderson Sculpture Garden was the spot to permanently place the panters “because it is sort of University Museums turf and the spot allows them to put ever-changing and permanent exhibitions in the particular spot.”
“We wanted a spot that was more obscured and woodsy, an out of sight place that would sort of shock people when they go by,” Sheridan added.
University Museums hopes the sculptures will be much anticipated, and the public introduction will also include, after the parade, the installation of the Petersen Panthers to the Art on Campus Collection right outside of Morrill Hall in the Anderson Sculpture Garden. The parade will be held Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. and the panthers will be installed in their places roughly around 1 p.m.
After the installation, there will be some temporary tattoos and cookies for people to enjoy.
For more information regarding the Petersen Panthers reveal contact University Museums