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Zoo Stories - the History of Zoos

„The History of Zoos” covers the changes in the function of zoos in general and the different stories of zoos in Europe – from the first zoo to recent developments in zoological gardens, including species protection and environmental education.

The wild animal – even in captivity – fascinates people. It symbolizes the thousand of years old relationship between humans and nature and human’s interaction with it: The use of animals for hunting and nourishment, their relevance for scientific progress, the utilization by acclimatization, breeding, domestication and resettlement, as well as the wish for mastery and observation of exotic and dangerous animals. The zoo, an artificially created place, where humans encounter the animal, where nature encounters culture, still characterizes the animal-human relationship of today’s time. The zoo is a place of learning and entertainment at the same time. But this relationship did not exist from the beginning on. It changed in different phases, from the first courtly animal exhibits to today. The Zoo or the zoological garden was used for different purposes. In the beginning it was used as a place of entertainment for fights between captured animals, as hunting place, as research laboratory for the academics until it became a place of leisure. Its history is not a completed process, but still is subject to continous changes. The Exhibition „The History of the Zoos would like to trace these different stories of the zoos in Europe. From the first Zoos in Europe to the current developments in Zoological Gardens as places for species protection and environmental education. How did the idea of Zoos change since their beginning up today? The exhibition will open in February 2010 and is available in the beginning of 2011.

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Westfälisches Pferdemuseum Münster

Westphalian horse museum in the Allwetterzoo Münster

A unique museum project was realised in the Allwetterzoo Münster. It opened its doors in October 2002. A museum in the Zoo. 1000 square meters exhibition area are devoted to nature and cultural history of the horse in Westphalia and other topics about the horse. There are also special exhibitions. Directly next to the museum is the arena. Various performances with horses allow the visitors direct access to the living animal.

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