By Jeff Nelson, Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK – This week has seen the transfer of the “Original Nittany Lion” to the Penn State All-Sports Museum. Also known at the “Brush Lion,” the Lion had been on display at Pattee Library since returning to campus in 1996. Arriving at the museum, the Lion has a new home in the upper level of the lobby and may be seen by all visitors.
Shot by Samuel Brush of Susquehanna County in 1856, the Lion was initially stuffed with tow and mounted on a wood and metal frame. After serving as a plaything for the family’s grandchildren, it was selected for showing at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago along with other Pennsylvania treasures including the Liberty Bell. Obtained by Penn State shortly thereafter, it was placed on display in Old Main. While there, it may have inspired Nittany Lion creator Joe Mason to put forward the lion as the school mascot.
Remaining at Penn State until the 1950s, the Lion was then loaned to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh for use in an exhibit about endangered species. Placed in storage, the Lion was largely forgotten about until it was rediscovered in 1992 and returned to Penn State. After undergoing an extensive four-year restoration, the Lion was placed on display at Pattee Library. A University treasure, the Lion has found a new home at the Penn State All-Sports Museum and will be the centerpiece of interpretation and programming centering on the Nittany Lion.
Opened in 2002, the Penn State All-Sports Museum is located at the southwest corner of Beaver Stadium on Penn State’s University Park campus. The Museum includes over 10,000 sq. ft. of exhibits tracing Penn State’s proud athletic legacy back to its earliest roots. Visitors to the Museum are immersed in the Penn State experience as they connect with athletes and teams from the past and present.
For more information regarding the Museum or the “Original Nittany Lion,” please contact the Penn State All-Sports Museum at (814) 865-0044. Museum hours are: Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM-4 PM, Sunday 12 PM-4 PM. Additional information regarding the Museum may be found at www.gopsusports.com/museum.