Nittany lion has new home at Penn State


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The “Original Nittany Lion” has a new home at 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.

Show in 1856. 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.

Forgotten at Carnegie

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, and underwent an extensive four-year restoration.

About the museum

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.

For more information regarding the museum or the “Original Nittany Lion,” call 814-865-0044. Museum hours are: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

Additional information may be found at


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!


  1. I just found this website as I was doing some research on my great great grandfather ,Samuel A Brush.I knew that his mount was shown at the Chicago World’s Fair and always wondered where it ended up. Now I know. He was from Susquehanna / Oakland , Pa.

  2. Very interesting! Originally I thought the Nittany Lion was a myth. Then I thought there were many, though rare, lions. I had no idea he was the last lion. Now I wonder if he was a she. thanks for sending. Love, Susan


We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.