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Edward J. Bronikowski

Senior Curator, Animal Care Science

As senior curator of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Ed Bronikowski oversees an animal collection of 1,800 specimens of 300 species. He supervises a staff of eight curators, 13 assistant curators and 70 keepers in support of providing excellence in animal care and an engaging guest experience.  

Bronikowski serves as the curatorial representative to several design and construction teams for the continual renewal of the Zoo's facilities, including: the National Zoological Park Master Plan; Asia Trail construction; American Trail design, construction and operations; Appalachian Salamander Lab; and Coral Lab in the Amazonia Science Gallery. Currently, he is working with a team on the design and construction plan for a major renovation of the 1928 Bird House, which will culminate in a new exhibit titled "Experience Migration." Bronikowski also oversees the aquatic life support operations for 170 systems, totaling 1.7 million gallons.  

Bronikowski started his zoo and aquarium career at the Cleveland Aquarium in 1970, where he gained hands-on experience with marine mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and many fish species. In 1986, he accepted a position at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to join the design team for Amazonia, which blended science with the art of exhibit design. Bronikowski left Washington, D.C. in 1991 to assume a senior management position for the design and construction of The Florida Aquarium. In 1996, he joined HOK Architecture and served as a leading consultant on over 36 built-projects. Several of his projects have won international awards for design and conservation. Bronikowski rejoined the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 2003 to participate in the Zoo’s renewal plan. 

With over 43 years of experience, Bronikowski brings an insider’s perspective to the design and operations of museums, aquariums and zoos. He has long been a champion for designs that deliver an exceptional visitor experience and for operational systems that are user-friendly, energy efficient and an excellent value. Additionally, throughout his career Bronikowski has served as an operations manager in support of numerous formal research projects ranging from small primates to living corals. The Smithsonian is the perfect habitat for Ed Bronikowski.