Archive for the ‘ZooAmerica’ Category
Occasionally, someone asks: “What is the oldest item in the archival collection?” But no one has asked, “What is the most contemporary item in the collection?” Researchers often equate archives with pre-twentieth century materials such as handwritten deeds or manuscripts written on parchment. However, Hershey Community Archives’ holdings are largely comprised of twentieth century records and, increasingly, twenty-first century records.
The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.
The Archives receives regular transfers of records from the corporations and organizations whose historical records we manage, such as The Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, Hershey Area AARP, and the Derry Township Senior Citizen’s Council. Contemporary records, yes even those that date from 2015, are currently held by the Archives.
Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.
These selected contemporary records have what is called “archival value,” meaning the records have enduring value based on their historical usefulness or significance, that justifies their continued preservation. The records are collected quickly after they are produced so that they are less likely to be lost, causing a break in the documentary record.
By collecting contemporary records, the Archives can provide a comprehensive institutional history or document the development of a particular event.
Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.
Archivists have an obligation to future researchers and the organizations they serve to collect and preserve contemporary records so they are available when a need arises. The records produced in 2015 and transferred to the Archives are already “archival” and have historical value. The records will help tell or illustrate an institution’s history 50 years from now or perhaps just a few years from now.
33 years ago, on October 31, 1980, ZooAmerica launched its signature Halloween event, “Creatures of the Night.”
Since that one night celebration that featured special flashlight tours of the zoo’s nocturnal animals, refreshments, special animal demonstrations and ghost stories told around a bonfire, the zoo’s simple event has grown exponentially.
Today, Halloween in Hershey is a popular event that draws tens of thousands of people to Hershey to enjoy Hersheypark decorated for Halloween and offering special child-friendly activities including opportunities for children to “trick or treat.” The whole town joins in the fun, offering individuals and families opportunities to eat Hershey’s chocolate, enjoy community attractions and celebrate the turning of the seasons.
After ZooAmerica opened in 1978, funding was limited for the development of new exhibits. To promote interest in the zoo, ZooAmerica undertook a variety of novel marketing ventures to build a zoo audience.
“Creatures of the Night” was first presented on October 31, 1980
On Friday, October 31, 1980 the zoo launched Creatures of the Night, an educational alternative for Halloween. Visitors were invited to bring a flashlight and experience the zoo by night.
ZooAmerica staff offered guests opportunities to interact with some of the zoo’s residents.
The following year Creatures of the Night was offered on two nights: Friday and Saturday, October 30-31, 1981.
In 1992, “Creatures of the Night” expanded to the two weekends leading up to Halloween.
In 1992, Hersheypark wanted to join ZooAmerica’s Halloween celebration. That year visitors could cross the Zoo bridge into the park and enjoy 6 rides: Flying Falcon, Kissing Tower, Antique Cars and the Red Baron, Dinosaurs and Convoy kiddie rides. That year the event name was changed to Creatures of the Night . . .PLUS.
Creatures of the Night billboard, 1996.
Over the next several years, Creatures of the Night began its transition to a Hersheypark oriented event. In 1997, visitors were directed to enter through Hersheypark gates. Today the seasonal event is held over the 3 weekends leading to Halloween and is marketed as Hersheypark in the Dark.
Today, a visit to ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night event is included with admission to Hersheypark in the Dark. Guests can also choose to experience ZooAmerica’s Halloween celebration on its own, by using ZooAmerica’s entrance.