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Balto, the Alaskan Dog and his Statue in New York's Central Park: Animal Representation and National Heritage

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This article explores the statue of Balto in New York's Central Park within a framework of discussion of animal representation in creating national heritages. It discusses the reasons for Balto's statue being sited in New York with reference to the competing demands for different heritage commemorations within the park's space. In exploring the role of different interests in promoting this particular commemoration the article questions a simplistic notion of heritage being created by bodies of the state and draws analogies with other national animal 'symbols' such as Greyfriars Bobby, and 'The Dog on the Tucker Box'. The article suggests that animal commemoration in everyday space may help create ongoing interest in animal pasts while noting the disjuncture between the represented animal and Balto's actual existence.
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Keywords: Animals; Balto; Contested Space; National Heritage; Public Sculpture; Representation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ruskin College, Oxford, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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