The Museum of Aquarium & Pet Historical past Celebrates Historic Artifacts

On this planet right now, there are over 100,000 museums dedicated to the aim of gathering, preserving, decoding and displaying objects of creative, cultural or scientific significance for the research, training and viewing pleasure of the general public.

But with all these museums — of which 35,000 are within the U.S. alone — there are none dedicated to aquarium or pet-keeping historical past.

Welcome to the Museum of Aquarium & Pet Historical past (, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in July 2023. Though there are 15 canine or cat museums worldwide, none have coated aquariums, birds, small animals or the historical past of the pet business and the folks in it.

The MOAPH museum concept began in my teenagers after I noticed my first image of a Victorian fountain aquarium and wished to know all the pieces about this magnificent aquarium and murals. The issue was that there have been no books on pet historical past on the time (besides a couple of on canine or cat historical past), so I used to be by myself. Greater than 40 years of gathering aquariums and pet artifacts later, the Museum of Aquarium & Pet Historical past was born.

Right this moment, the MOAPH museum has the world’s most complete assortment of artifacts associated to aquarium and pet retaining together with over 3,000 vintage aquariums, vintage fishbowls and stands, hen cages, squirrel cages, canine and cat meals cans, containers and material sacks, turtle merchandise, and even pet gadgets that belonged to Queen Victoria or well-known film stars.

The museum can be dwelling to the most important assortment of books on aquariums courting again to the 1850s when the aquarium was invented, plus different pet books on canary birds or small animal retaining courting to the late 1700s. The museum library additionally has the most important assortment of aquarium membership newsletters (1,000+) courting again to the early 1900s. The museum library has over 10,000 books and magazines on the aquarium, birds, canine, cats and different pet-keeping topics.

At the moment, the MOAPH museum is on-line solely, however we lately procured a ten,000-square-foot constructing with hopes of getting a bodily museum, which will probably be positioned in San Luis Obispo, California, open to the general public within the subsequent three to 4 years. It’s thrilling to think about the day that pet lovers can have a chance to view busy cabinets that showcase turtle merchandise from the Thirties, classic pet food cans that embrace a pet food jar for Balto Canine Meals, historic “transport cages” that show commercials from hen product firms, a classic run of Milk-Bone Canine Biscuits, Metaframe Aquarium boxed kits, Tetra-Min fish meals shows and exquisite fishbowl stands that date again to the Nineteen Twenties.

The net MOAPH museum has new month-to-month content material with unique articles written by among the greatest pet historians on this planet. We even have an lively YouTube channel with new “5-minute video” weekly releases, plus a major pet historical past video launch month-to-month. The MOAPH YouTube web page has launched movies overlaying the historical past of such firms as Penn-Plax and Eheim. Jon Willinger additionally spoke in a video concerning the historical past of his father’s involvement in Wil-Ness, Metaframe, Willinger Bros., Dwelling World/Mattel and, in fact, his personal firm JW Pet. MOAPH has the one movies associated to the historical past of commercial-made Victorian and Artwork Deco period hen cages, that are at present our two most considered movies.

We even have numerous articles on reptile retaining from well-known reptile herpetologists James Murphy and Jon Coote. The very first YouTube video that we posted in April 2022 provides an summary of “Constructing No. 1.” It took two years to set this build up in a museum show trend, which was achieved through the gradual instances of the COVID pandemic.

Although our writers are from everywhere in the world together with the U.S., Italy, Germany and England, we’re all the time on the hunt for individuals who have lived pet historical past by working within the business or are aquarium or pet-keeping hobbyists.

Transferring ahead, MOAPH is all the time trying to interview firms which have historic significance (longevity) within the business or well-known hobbyists which have created new colour morphs of tropical fish or reptiles (suppose ball pythons) or have “cracked the code” on breeding uncommon and tough species. We additionally prefer to interview members of the family who bear in mind the histories of firms or hobbyists of their household line. At the moment, MOAPH has a small workers of three individuals who publish the weekly/month-to-month content material in addition to three full-time writers and a number of other freelance hobbyists. If you’re fascinated about writing a historic article associated to pet retaining, please get in contact with us by way of our web site.

Lastly, if you wish to assist this new museum going ahead, you are able to do so in two methods; one is to donate any aquarium or pet artifact, books, magazines, papers, and so forth., to the museum that you’ve got sitting in your storage gathering mud, or two; go to the web site and make a monetary one time or month-to-month donation. The Museum of Aquarium & Pet Historical past is a 501(c) nonprofit.


Gary Bagnall has labored within the pet business for over 55 years, beginning at Russo’s Great World of Pets at age 11. At age 13, he co-founded the Orange County Aquarium Society together with his co-worker Howard Keffer; at age 16, he managed his first pet retailer, Southwest Pet Heart. At age 19, Bagnall briefly labored for a tropical fish wholesaler in Los Angeles and, in the identical 12 months, began his dwell reptile import/export enterprise, California Zoological Provide. Cal Zoo results in a spin-off making merchandise for reptiles which is Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc., nonetheless in enterprise right now. Bagnall holds six reptile product patents however is most happy with inventing the primary UVB lighting for reptile enclosures, now the usual the world over. Bagnall has earned Lifetime Achievement Awards from each the World Pet Affiliation and the American Cichlid Affiliation. He’s at present chairman of the board of USARK. (United States Affiliation of Reptile Keepers.)


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