Smithsonian Mobile Exhibit Explores the Human Animal Bond
Posted February 11, 2014
“Animal Connections” Comes to College Station
From the cows that provide the milk for a bowl of
cereal to the deer nibbling on a shrub in the park, and from sea
lions working with their trainers at the zoo to puppies chasing
balls in the yard, the connections humans have with animals are
vast. This special relationship is explored in a new mobile
exhibition from the Smithsonian.
“Animal Connections: Our Journey Together,”
a custom-built exhibition housed on an 18-wheel truck that expands
into 1,000 square feet of space, will be at Texas A&M
University at College Station Feb. 20-21.
Located in front of the George Bush Library
and Museum, the free exhibit will be open to the public from 11
a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 21.
For the safety of animals and people,
visitors are asked not to bring pets.
“The affection that people everywhere have
for animals sparked our enthusiasm for an exhibit about veterinary
medicine that would inspire lively conversations about the
human–animal bond,” said Lori Yarrish, acting director of
“Animal Connections” was created by the
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) to
mark the 150th anniversary of the American Veterinary Medical
Association in 2013. The exhibition is made possible through the
generous support of founding sponsor Zoetis, Inc., and the American
Veterinary Medical Foundation.
“Of the more than 74 million American
households that include pets, nearly two-thirds consider their
pets family members,” said Dr. Clark Fobian, president of the AVMA.
“The deep connection Americans have with animals and the pivotal
role veterinarians play in that relationship are wonderful and
worthy of celebration.”
Divided into five sections, the exhibition
focuses on animals in the home, on the farm, at the zoo, in the
wild and at the veterinary clinic. Visitors are offered a variety
of ways to learn through informative displays, dynamic videos and
interactive experiences. In the home section, visitors will learn
how to select the right pet and the possible dangers to pets, such
as household items like plants and holiday decorations and feeding
pets food prepared for family members. A display in the farm
section highlights the mobile clinics that large-animal
veterinarians stock with a variety of tools—from dental speculums
to cow magnets—to ensure they are prepared for any procedure. A
virtual clinic at the center of the exhibition provides visitors
the opportunity to play veterinarian. Through touch screens, they
can examine and diagnose what ails their virtual patients—a dog, a
piglet and a cheetah.
“At Zoetis, we work every day to better
understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who
raise and care for animals,” said Christine Jenkins, Chief
Veterinary Medical Officer-U.S. Zoetis, a company that discovers,
develops and manufactures veterinary vaccines and medicines. “As
part of our commitment to veterinarians, we are proud to join with
the Smithsonian and the AVMA in supporting ‘Animal Connections’ as
a means to inspire young people to pursue careers in veterinary
medicine and its allied professions.”
The free exhibition explores the shared
responsibility for animals’ health and well-being. It also
highlights the varied roles veterinarians play in the health of
animals. Videos showcase that even suburban areas have a great
diversity of wildlife—from the squirrels trying to break into a
birdfeeder to a bear lounging in a hammock.
“At the AVMF, we are committed to advancing
the well-being and medical care of animals,” said Michael Cathey,
AVMF executive director. “This exhibition will not only help
inspire the next generation of veterinarians, but improve current
animal care through a better understanding of the role animals and
veterinarians play in our lives.”
Visitors to “Animal Connections” can continue the learning
experience online at animalconnections.com. The site includes
resources on animal care and careers in veterinary medicine.
About Smithsonian Institution Traveling
Exhibition Service (SITES)
has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research
programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 60
years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage
through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history,
which are shown wherever people live, work and play.
About American Veterinary Medical
The AVMA, established
in 1863, is a not-for-profit association representing more than
85,000 veterinarians working in private and corporate practice,
government, industry, academia and uniformed services. The mission
of the association is to improve animal and human health and
advance the veterinary medical profession.
About American Veterinary Medical
is the charitable arm of the AVMA. For 50 years, AVMF has been
dedicated to embracing and advancing the well-being and medical
care of animals. Charitable contributions and support to the
Foundation help veterinarians help animals The AVMF, a three-time,
four-star rated nonprofit by Charity Navigator, has awarded more
than $50 million in grants since it began in 1963.
(zō-EH-tis) is a leading animal health company dedicated to
supporting customers and businesses focused on raising and caring
for livestock and companion animals. Building on a 60-year history
as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers,
develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and
medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic
# # #
Jennifer Schommer, SITES, (202) 633-3121; email@example.com
Megan Palsa, (979) 421-3121; firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Clendenin (979) 739-5718; email@example.com
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