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Our National Zoo Photo Exhibit

The Zoo in the eyes, and minds, of Washington-area African Americans

In celebration of the of the 2016 National Museum of African American History and Culture's grand opening, the Smithsonian's National Zoo presents a gallery of photos and stories from African Americans’ experiences at the Zoo. The exhibit is on display in the Jessie Cohen Photography Gallery in the Visitor Center beginning September 2016.

Since the early 1900s, Washington-area African Americans have thought of the Zoo as part of their community and created rich memories from their time spent there. Families from across the region submitted stories and photo of their experiences, including some of those below. Be sure to visit the exhibit in person to see all the photos and stories.

  • Easter egg roll at the Zoo

    The Annual Egg Roll

    "My mother, a domestic worker and divorced mother of two boys, looked forward to Easter Monday every year for the opportunity to catch up with her friends from church after a long week of work, The fun started on the chartered bus to the Zoo and continued into the evening. It was a wonderful day of good food, socializing, and the much-anticipated highlight of the day, the egg hunt." George H. Lambert, Jr., President and CEO, Greater Washington Urban League


  • two boys decorating easter eggs

    Scott Brian Staten, Jr., and DeAngelo Thomas

    "My mom took me and my siblings and cousins to the Zoo often as kids. We loved Easter Monday and Boo at the Zoo, in particular. The memories from those times are really special. My brother Scott passed away a few years ago, and this picture puts a smile on my face." –Briana Staten

  • little girl wearing a panda suit with a rainbow on it, holding a cake pop

    Payton West at Easter Monday Celebration

    "When I was a child, my family came to Easter Monday every year, from when I was in elementary school through middle school. We’re a big family, so it was a big event each time. Now that I’m an adult, I get to carry on the tradition with my goddaughter Payton." –Britney Crawford 

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the nineteenth museum of the Smithsonian Institution and is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The museum provides for the collections, study, and establishment of programs and exhibitions relating to African American life, history, art, and culture. A place where people can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience—a place of meaning, memory, reflection, laughter, and hope.