Bucky’s horns damaged once again

Sarah Haber, Staff Writer

The Bucky the Bison statue currently outside of MacDonald Commons has a long history of being damaged. Since its donation from the class of 1942, Bucky the Bison has had his horns replaced several times over the years. After years of remaining hornless, Bucky finally had his horns replaced, only to be damaged once again after only two weeks of having them replaced.

The granite statue of Bucky was one of the first works of art to be installed on campus. It originally was located in front of the Kenneth G. Langone Athletics & Recreation Center (KLARC) where a newer statue of Bucky is now located. “The sculpture was donated by alumni to campus to make a more permanent ‘physical contribution to campus.’ I think that shows the lasting pride Bucknellians have in ‘joining the herd’ and I think of Bucky as one of the ‘herd’ members,” Theresa Engelbrecht, Registrar & Exhibition Manager at the Samek Art Museum, said.

The statues of Bucky the Bison — one located at the MacDonald Commons and the other in front of the KLARC — are two of the most popular places for University students and alumni to visit and take photos in front of.

“Having works of art on campus is important. We think the public sculptures on campus, of which there are 11, signal to visitors that Bucknell truly values the liberal arts. They both beautify the campus and offer sites of artistic contemplation on the campus grounds,” Engelbrecht said. 

The statue of Bucky the Bison, which is in the Samek Art Museum’s permanent collection, was designed by Alfred Comi and was sculpted by Ignazio Salvatori. The sculpture is listed on the Smithsonian inventory of American Painting and Sculpture, which recognizes artwork by American artists that are displayed in either public or private art collections around the world.

Bucky is sculpted from granite, which complicates the process of replacing and repairing his horns. The Samek Art Museum, which is ultimately responsible for Bucky,  brings in professional conservators to find granite that will match and carve horns that will fit the original statue. The reparation process takes several months, making it difficult and impractical to replace Bucky’s horns every time that they get damaged or removed.

“While the Samek Art Museum staff are the caretakers of the collection, the collection, including Bucky, belongs to all of Bucknell University. We should all be proud to have these works of art on campus, and show our pride by taking care of them.” Engelbrecht said.

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