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Reading Public Museum Announces the Return of its beloved Pelican Sculpture by Earl L. Poole

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Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 7:00 am

Reading, PA – After nearly two decades, the beloved bronze Pelicans (1931), by Earl Lincoln Poole (American, 1891 – 1972), RPM’s second director, will be placed in The Museum’s Arboretum. Completed in 1931, the bronze grouping served for many years as a fountain on The Museum’s grounds as the centerpiece of the rose garden. Levi Mengel, RPM’s first director, remarked in January of 1932, a few months after the work was originally installed, that “[the sculpture] has been much admired by artists, sculptors and museum men. Many favorable comments have been made concerning the effort of Mr. Poole.”

Poole’s Pelicans as a Fountain in the Rose Garden, circa 1931.

The work was cast at the J. Arthur Limerick Co. in Baltimore, Maryland in the summer of 1931. The fountain was removed in 1968 for the construction of The Neag Planetarium, and then reinstalled in 1974 near Museum Road as the formal entry to the Arboretum in time for The Museum’s seventieth anniversary. The grouping was restored in 1996, removing the corrosion that had occurred over the years.

Earl Lincoln Poole was a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster. Poole was a recognized painter of birds and animals and was appointed to The Museum’s staff in 1925. He was named director in 1938 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1957.

The Reading Public Museum includes an impressive Arboretum that covers 25 acres of lushly appointed and carefully maintained natural beauty. An accredited station for the United States Bureau of Plant Industry, many of the 65 distinctive specimens in the park today are from the original planting in the late 1920s. Large, exotic trees are interspersed with indigenous trees and shrubs, providing fresh air and cooling shade during the summer. The Wyomissing Creek, which flows through the arboretum and park, provides a peaceful, mesmerizing ambiance for leisurely walks along the many pathways. Outdoor sculpture is placed throughout the grounds, offering visitors a unique art viewing experience. Pelicans by Poole becomes the twenty-second sculpture on display in the Arboretum.

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