USNM CURATORS ANNUAL REPORTS -- Department of Living Animals: Annual and Monthly Reports, 1888-89

About the Project

Today, the Smithsonian's National Zoo is home to more than 1,500 animals--and it all started with just a few bison, outside of the Smithsonian Castle in the 1880s, as part of the Department of Living Animals.

The live animals, used as models for the Smithsonian's taxidermists, were a hit with the public, and by 1889 Congress had formally established the National Zoo. Take a look at what other animals were part of the department in this set of curator's notes from 1888-89. Get a look into the earliest days of the National Zoo--and help transcribe!

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