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Zoological Museum

Animals from A to Z – Conrad Gessner's Animal Encyclopedia

17 March - 11 September 2016

Conrad Gessner was a polymath spurring Europe's transformation from medieval to modern times. While his contemporaries restricted themselves to criticizing the ancients, he created new knowledge using his own methods. Gessner combined information about animals from ancient sources with contemporary descriptions – for the first time with illustrations. Adding his own observations, both in words and pictures, he arranged all this knowledge for efficient retrieval. Long before internet and photography, Gessner created an illustrated encyclopedia comprising more than a thousand animals. His Historia animalium was soon widely read owing to the invention of modern printing techniques. For generations, the book was the foundation of animal science on the long road to modern zoology.

The exhibition is in German and English.

News release

For guided tours please contact us.

Logo Gessner 500 Jahre

All special exhibitions and events to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Zurich polymath Conrad Gessner (1516-1565)