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New Exhibit Explores Human-Animal Connections

artwork from historical veterinary collections

New Exhibit Explores Human-Animal Connections

A new exhibit at the MSU Libraries gathers historic books from the veterinary medicine collections and notable items in Special Collections to examine how the special bond be-tween humans and animals has been illustrated, documented and described for hundreds of years.

The exhibit examines the history of the horse, the link between human and animal health, the role of farm animals, the practice of beekeeping, and the his-tory of hunting and ?shing. It includes rare books and illustrations dating from the 17th century.

“This exhibit feels particularly appropriate to share here in the MSU Libraries because it reveals a practical approach to teaching and learning that we have always valued here at MSU,” Dean of Libraries Joseph Salem said.

“It also feels timely. There is much discussion now about viruses that evolve and spread from animals to humans, and this exhibit considers theories of zoonotic diseases as well as concepts of connection and companionship. We encourage students, researchers and the public to explore the exhibit and consider how this rich collection might expand and deepen their projects and understanding,” Salem said.

Andrea Kepsel, MSU Libraries Health Sciences librarian, curated the exhibit. She said it reveals early understandings—and sometimes misunderstandings—of animal anatomy, veterinary practices, disease transmission, dairy farming and breeding.

“The pleasure of the exhibit is that it presents work that is historical, practical and beautiful,” Kepsel said. “It gives people an opportunity to view delicate, rare books that address real-world, everyday issues. It also underscores how powerful the relationship between people and animals can be.”

Highlights in the exhibit include a 17th-century book of crude equine remedies written by a poet, a book from the beginning of the 18th century with a useless remedy for rabies, an 18th-century book with beautiful illutrations of equine anatomy and a 19th-century map of dairy farming in America.

The exhibit will be on display in the Main Library through July.

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New Exhibit Explores Human-Animal Connections

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