Animal Protection: An American Movement
Permanently on view starting December 3, 2016.
Many people care deeply about animals and recognize the meaningful role they play in our lives and our society. Why then do we tell our national story as if this complex and fascinating relationship does not exist?
One hundred and fifty years ago, abusing or beating an animal to death was generally legal and acceptable in the United States. Today, laws mandate humane treatment of animals in many facets of society, and a vibrant animal advocacy movement boasts thousands of organizations and millions of members. This exhibition asks, “How did this dramatic change occur and what are its connections to present day advocacy? Who were the early activists? How did they fight cruelty and change the laws and attitudes of this nation? By unearthing the roots, identities, campaigns, struggles, successes, and legacies of the American Animal Protection movement since 1865, this dynamic and interactive experience will inspire visitors to be proud of this national movement. Equally important, the exhibit challenges visitors to consider their own place in this history and provide meaningful ways to participate in animal protection today.
This exhibition has been made possible thanks to the support of:
About the Curator
Diane Beers earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University in Philadelphia. Her personal commitment to animal protection combined with her research on social justice movements evolved into her first book, For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States, published by Ohio University Press. Her work has been praised in Publishers Weekly (starred review), Booklist, BookForum, and VegNews. She has made numerous public appearances including The New York Public Library, The International Compassionate Living Conference, and The Diane Rehm show on National Public Radio. Currently, she is a professor of history at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts where she teaches courses in the history of women, environmental attitudes, civil rights, and animal advocacy. In 2011, the college honored her with the Elaine Marieb Faculty Chair in Teaching Excellence. Currently, she participates in a National Endowment for the Humanities program, Bridging Cultures, that works to expand the teaching and learning of Latino Studies in community colleges. When she is not working, she enjoys hanging out with friends, both human and nonhuman.
- March Studio, Exhibition Design Firm
- Lisa Levinson, Exhibition Designer, The Animal Museum
- Erica Kelly, Senior Exhibits Developer, San Diego Museum of Natural History
- Kathryn Shevelow, UC San Diego and author of “For the Love of Animals”
- John Edmundson, Ernest Bell Memorial Library
- Chris White, Director of Video Technology, The Animal Museum