March 27, 2014

Helmutt the Dog redesign

It's been about 6 months in the making for my part, and only about a year for the entire staff incorporating the Higgins Armory collection into the Worcester Art Museum.

Helmutt at the Higgins with a troop in 1952

in the lobby of the Armory 2002

I was very lucky to be brought onto this project by the Audience Engagement Team to develop an illustrated version of the Higgin's beloved Helmutt the Dog statue, a fixture at the Armory since 1942.

Through cartoons, standees, wall vinyls and digital iPad graphics, Helmutt will guide the visitor throughout the exhibition and eventually the museum itself.

I think the main purpose is to make the body of work all the more accessible for the viewer.

It was important to me that a few things happen:
  • The design look like the original dog (which is plaster, not taxidermy)
  • The voice of the character be mature, like an older-sibling (think Wishbone)
  • The character would be approachable for kids and adults alike

Crossing my fingers, this is my first time doing such a large audience engagement project - very exciting!

(ABOVE) early sketches -  somewhat too literal interpretation

(BELOW) later ideas - taking more cartoonified license

Once we decided on the crowd favorite (center), it was adapted into more iterations
We had fun with the idea of Helmutt being a cross-dresser, putting him in the dress of one of the key European portraits in the WAM Spanish collection (bottom left)

putting it into the space (photo credit; MASSLive)

Thank you to the team at WAM for the opportunity & support


Please excuse my dumb face and stay tuned to see my incredibly wonderful husband talk about the Keaton Batman suit. (Which he facilitated in bringing here)


  1. Very cool! The design of the dog is very cute--I think a lot of people will like it!

  2. You both look great!! Love the dog! Wish I could have been at the opening.

    1. Thanks! it was pretty packed, if we ran into each other we'd have been hardly be able to even talk

  3. This is so great! You do a fantastic job.