Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, and Mascot
Curated by Dr. Andrew McClellan
September 11 – December 7, 2014
Koppelman Family Gallery
In the fall of 2014 Tufts University will celebrate the 125th
anniversary of the arrival on campus of our mascot Jumbo the Elephant with the
unveiling of a life-size bronze statue on the main quad by Carmel, CA-based
sculptor Steven Whyte and an exhibition at the Tufts University Art Gallery
entitled Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, and Mascot,
curated by Tufts Professor of Art History and Museum Studies Andrew McClellan.
Jumbo came to Tufts as a gift from P.T. Barnum, one of the
University's founding trustees.
Jumbo arrived posthumously in 1889, a few years after he was killed in a
railroad accident and subsequently prepared for display by the noted taxidermist
Henry Ward of Rochester. Jumbo was
the centerpiece of the campus natural history museum (now Barnum Hall) until a
fire burned the building and its contents in 1975.
Jumbo lives on as the Tufts mascot and we aim to commemorate his arrival
in grand style in the fall.
The exhibition will be the first of its kind to narrate
Jumbo's life story from star of the London Zoo to college mascot by means of
original images (posters, couriers, photographs, etc.) and artifacts drawn from
public and private collections in the U.S. and Canada.
A fully-illustrated book will accompany the show.
The exhibition is comprised of three sections.
Jumbo as Marvel will be devoted to Jumbo's journey from Africa and
his rise to celebrity at the London Zoo.
Section two focuses on Jumbo's purchase for Barnum's circus, "The
Greatest Show on Earth," and his transformation into a larger-than-life "mythic"
creature and household name. The
final section documents his tragic death in a train accident and afterlife in
popular culture, as the centerpiece of the Tufts natural history museum, and as
beloved college mascot.
Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, & Mascot
A lecture by Andrew McClellan, Professor of Art History at Tufts
October 16, 2014
This lecture draws on a trove of rich images to celebrate the extraordinary
life and legacy of Jumbo the Elephant, the most famous of animals and most
distinctive of college mascots. 2014 is the 125th anniversary of Jumbo's
arrival on campus, a gift of founding trustee and benefactor, P. T. Barnum.
Tufts is commemorating the anniversary with a new, life-size bronze statue
statue of Jumbo on the Medford campus as well as Professor McClellan's book
and exhibition at the Tufts Art Gallery titled "Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, & Mascot."
The exhibition runs at the Tufts Gallery from September 11-December 7 and will
be open before and after the lecture. The book is available at the Gallery and
by phone order from the Tufts Bookstore.
Jumbo Sculpture >
Documentary about Jumbo >
Download the Press Release >