The Philadelphia Zoo was granted its charter in 1859 and is celebrating the 150th anniversary of
its charter in 2009. In addition to being America’s First Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo holds a number of other records— Did you know that the Penrose Research Laboratory was the first of its kind to
study animal medicine and disease? Or that their nutritionists were the first to help animals to live longer through specially formulated diets?
To celebrate the history of the Philadelphia Zoo, MERJE worked with the Zoo’s development office, curators and design department to create an interpretive exhibit celebrating its accomplishments and milestones. The exhibit provides a “face” to each of the Zoo’s achievements, whether it be recording keeping, animal care, education, or the visitors themselves. It highlights the Zoo’s roots as a Victorian Garden and includes a Zoovenir wall that provides visitors an opportunity to contribute their personal memories of the Zoo by adding photographs to the exhibit.
In addition to the history exhibit, this anniversary serves as an opportunity to celebrate and interpret The Solitude, the home of John Penn, William Penn’s Grandson. The Solitude is the only remaining structure once owned by the Penn family, and is one of the original buildings on the Zoo grounds.