University Museums

Title: The Work of Animal Science
Name: Mural
Date: 1965
Medium: Oil on canvas with collage
Dimensions: 100 x 144 in. (254 x 365.8 cm)
Marks: Signed, lower right corner, "Dwight Kirsch 1965"
Classification: Paintings
Credit Line: Commissioned by the Department of Animal Science. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Location: Iowa State University, Kildee Hall, Hallway, first floor,
Object Number: U97.2
More Information
Dwight Kirsch was an Iowa artist, a director of the Des Moines Art Center, and did an art residency at Iowa State University in 1964-65. This mural is one of the paintings he created for the campus art collection, later to be known as the Art on Campus Collection.

Painted in a realistic, narrative style, the mural portrays the establishment of agriculture in Iowa, the founding of Iowa State, and commemorates the importance of animal husbandry to Iowa State and the State of Iowa. In 1996, Dr. Richard Willham, the Charles F. Curtis Distinguished Professor of Animal Science, wrote in his centennial publication "A Heritage of Leadership, 1896-1996", the following about the mural. "Across the Mississippi, there were virgin forests followed by a great sea of prairie punctuated to the north by a wilderness of marshes, and on west across the loess hills was the Missouri. The buffalo were replaced by the pioneers who tripled the population by the end of the 1850s bringing animal agriculture and the family farm. Central to the mural is the seal and motto "Science with Practice". Science has always been first, and its practical application has been the logical result of acquiring the basics. Growth and development shown by the embryo flanked by laboratory work and that with the computer signify both the research and maturation of the department. Teaching resides with the mortar board, extension with the books and television, and the ushering in of democracy's college with the Morrill Act. The value-added products of this fertile state punctuate that Iowa is a livestock state."