This post was written in collaboration with Carla Simms
The National Zoo in Washington D.C. is one of the capital’s most celebrated landmarks. The zoo was created by an act of congress in 1889, and officially made a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution the following year. Since its founding, the zoo has been a pioneer in architectural design, animal care, science and education. Over the years, the wildlife preserve has attracted millions of visitors, enchanting both young and old with its fascinating animals and captivating history.
The Special Media Division at the National Archives maintains a wide variety of records related to the National Zoo. Records in this blog range from cartographic plans from the National Park Service, to images of Smokey Bear, the real-life animal that inspired the iconic Forrest Service cartoon. Also included are images of Hsing-Hsing, the Giant Panda symbolic of President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, photographs from the Bureau of Public Roads, and photos from the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service.
Much like a zoo, the National Archives preserves and provides access to holdings that people would otherwise not have the opportunity to see. The diversity of records pertaining to the National Zoo emphasizes its cultural significance. With summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to see your favorite animals in Washington D.C. or at a zoo near you.