Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




From their beginning in the mid-l 800s, zoos ( or zoological gardens as they were first known) were meant for both research and education. They offered viewers the opportunity to see animals that they otherwise would never have seen. These animals were kept in cages to protect the zoo-goers. The history of zoos demonstrates a conflicting desire between our human need to connect with animals as well as our fear (literal and metaphoric) of what that connection might mean. Informing this creative project are three main areas of research: primary research in the form of interview, place-based research conducted at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. and Library of Congress, and literature specifically about zoos (including the history of the modern zoo). This thesis explores human connection to animals within zoos, the connections we have with ourselves, and the connections we have with animals in our past, present and future.



Faculty Mentor

Jennifer Sinor

Departmental Honors Advisor

Phebe Jensen

Capstone Committee Member

Evelyn Funda

Co-Faculty Mentor

Brock Dethier