Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, May 7, 2005

Comanche called to new post

Historic horse moves to new exhibit space at KU museum

May 7, 2005

Advertisement

You can lead a horse to water.

Turns out you can lead him down a flight of stairs, too.

The preserved body of Comanche, the only member of the 7th Cavalry
left alive after the Battle of Little Big Horn, is moved Friday to
its new exhibit space at the Kansas University Natural History
Museum. Foreground from left are Kim Taylor, exhibits assistant,
and Bruce Scherting, director of exhibits.

The preserved body of Comanche, the only member of the 7th Cavalry left alive after the Battle of Little Big Horn, is moved Friday to its new exhibit space at the Kansas University Natural History Museum. Foreground from left are Kim Taylor, exhibits assistant, and Bruce Scherting, director of exhibits.

A crew from the Kansas University Natural History Museum proved that Friday morning as they escorted Comanche, the beloved stuffed horse, through a winding hallway and into a freight elevator to his new home.

"He had quite a ride," said Bruce Scherting, exhibits director for the museum.

The museum is moving Comanche -- who has a cult-like following as the only representative of the U.S. Army found alive after the Battle of Little Big Horn -- to its fourth floor to give it a better exhibit space. The move also will free up for traveling exhibits the museum's fifth floor, where Comanche has been for at least five decades.

After being nursed back to health from his wounds at Little Big Horn, Comanche spent the rest of his life performing ceremonial duties. He was stabled for several years at Fort Riley near Junction City.

Moving the horse, which has been dead 114 years, took months of planning. A graduate student even created a life-size model of Comanche out of foam board to make sure it could negotiate the turns.

In the end, a crew built a rolling cart for the horse, complete with braces around the legs.

The preserved body of Comanche, the horse that was the only U.S.
troop left living after the Battle of Little Big Horn, is moved
from its former exhibit space on the fifth floor of the Natural
History Museum at Kansas University. Helping to move the horse
Friday were, from left, Teresa MacDonald, director of education at
the museum, Kim Taylor, exhibits assistant, and Brad Kemp,
assistant director of public affairs.

The preserved body of Comanche, the horse that was the only U.S. troop left living after the Battle of Little Big Horn, is moved from its former exhibit space on the fifth floor of the Natural History Museum at Kansas University. Helping to move the horse Friday were, from left, Teresa MacDonald, director of education at the museum, Kim Taylor, exhibits assistant, and Brad Kemp, assistant director of public affairs.

Comanche was draped in plastic for protection. The main concern was that the seams in the horse hide would crack.

"We didn't know how he was going to take it," said Kim Taylor, an exhibits assistant. "At one spot (getting into the elevator) he dropped a little bit. Most people don't realize he's in a fragile state. The joke was he might bust a gut."

A group of about eight people led the horse down a makeshift ramp that spanned several steps to get to the freight elevator. The only tense moment came when he proved too tall for a doorway while on the ramp, but a little tilting of the approximately 250-pound horse remedied that.








For now, the horse will be stored in an area near the fourth-floor diorama. A taxidermist will come in soon to restore the horse before it's moved again to the exhibit space, which will include better humidity and temperature controls, better lighting and photos, a video and other information about Comanche.

"Every day, we have people come in to see him from all over the world," Scherting said. "This will give him better visibility."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.