Press Release

National Geographic Society and Jane Goodall Institute Partner to Produce “Becoming Jane,” an Immersive Multimedia Exhibition on the Legacy of Dr. Jane Goodall

Produced in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, the exhibition explores Dr. Goodall’s life from her early years as an intrepid young woman with a dream to learn about animals in Africa, to her years establishing herself as a renowned scientist in Gombe, Tanzania to her present role as an activist, mentor and advocate for creating a better world for all life on Earth.

Photo by Michael Nichols

Photograph by Photo by Michael Nichols

“Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” – Dr. Jane Goodall

Over the past century, groundbreaking discoveries have been made by global scientists that have significantly contributed to our understanding of the natural world and ourselves. One such scientist—Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace—has created an indelible legacy in the fields of science and conservation—a legacy celebrated in “Becoming Jane,” a new exhibition opening at the National Geographic Museum on Nov. 22, 2019. Produced in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, the exhibition explores Dr. Goodall’s life from her early years as an intrepid young woman with a dream to learn about animals in Africa, to her years establishing herself as a renowned scientist in Gombe, Tanzania to her present role as an activist, mentor and advocate for creating a better world for all life on Earth.

Widely known for her innovative approach to animal behavioral research, Dr. Goodall traveled to what is now Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park and immersed herself in observing chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Her work studying the lives of chimpanzees in the wild captured the imagination of the world. Rather than seeing the animals as subjects, she came to know them as individuals with personalities and emotions—a notion once rejected by the scientific world, yet now considered revolutionary.

Her story—one of fearless determination, curiosity, the pursuit of knowledge and a passionate love of the natural world—has resonated with generations of people around the globe. The impact of Dr. Goodall’s inspiring life is the focus of this exhibition, which will celebrate her enduring legacy and the 60th anniversary of her arrival in Gombe and the start of her prolific career.

Her work in Gombe, for which she received grants from the National Geographic Society, was the subject of National Geographic’s first television documentary. Dr. Goodall’s decades-long career has also been covered in many magazine stories and subsequent films, including the Emmy Award-winning “Jane,” directed by Brett Morgen in 2018.

“Jane Goodall has been inspiring National Geographic audiences, young and old, for almost 60 years,” said Kathryn Keane, vice president of public programming at the National Geographic Society. “This exhibition allows us to experience her amazing life story in a highly personal and powerful way. Through immersive media, authentic scenics and interactives, this exhibition takes visitors into the field and around the world with Jane, walking in her shoes and experiencing her powerful message of hope firsthand.”

Highlights from the exhibition include:

  • A multiscreen experience where visitors are introduced to Dr. Goodall’s extraordinary work, alongside surprising encounters with virtually rendered chimpanzees.
  • A replica of Dr. Goodall’s research tent where, in a hands-on experience, visitors can envision themselves as scientists jotting down observations in their field journal.
  • A hologram-like projection of Dr. Goodall who shares her memories in Gombe and recalls her thoughts, feelings, impressions and lessons learned while living among chimpanzees.
  • A virtual-3D expedition to Gombe Stream National Park.
  • Interactive augmented reality (AR) activities, including one in which visitors can test their skills at matching the pant-hoot vocalization of a chimpanzee.
  • Updates on the current state of Gombe Stream National Park and the chimpanzee range in Africa, along with the work of the innovative scientists and conservationists who are following in Dr. Goodall’s footsteps.
  • A call to action to visitors from Dr. Goodall to join her, the Jane Goodall Institute and National Geographic in an effort to ensure a more sustainable future for us all.
  • A pledge station where visitors can share what actions they will take to help Dr. Goodall in her mission.

“We're so pleased to deepen and expand our partnership with National Geographic as we move toward launching “Becoming Jane” together," said Tammy Palmer, the Jane Goodall Institute’s interim executive director and chief operating officer. “This exciting new facet of our partnership gives both organizations the opportunity to share the story of Jane’s evolution from scientist to conservationist as well as her discoveries, legacy, message of hope and, most importantly, her urgent call to action.”

“Becoming Jane” is a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute and is supported with generous assistance from the Linda K. Berdine Foundation and Dov and Elma Levy. The exhibition will be open at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., from Nov. 22 through the summer of 2020, and will be accompanied by a series of public events and a rich array of educational materials for teachers and students.

For more information, visit

For more information about Dr. Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute, visit

About Dr. Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934, in London, England. At the young age of 26, she followed her passion for animals and Africa to Gombe, Tanzania, where she began her landmark study of chimpanzees in the wild—immersing herself in their habitat as a neighbor rather than a distant observer. Her discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific world and redefined the relationship between humans and animals. In 1977, she established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to advance her work around the world and for generations to come. JGI continues the field research at Gombe and builds on Dr. Goodall's innovative approach to conservation, which recognizes the central role that people play in the well-being of animals and the environment. In 1991, she founded Roots & Shoots, a global program that connects young people in more than 50 countries to be conservation activists in their daily lives. Today, Dr. Goodall travels the world, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees, other environmental crises, and her reasons for hope. In her books and speeches, she emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things and the collective power of individual action. Dr. Goodall is a UN Messenger of Peace.

About the Jane Goodall Institute

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global, community-centered conservation organization founded in 1977 that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall in over 30 countries around the world. We aim to understand and protect chimpanzees, other apes and their habitats, and empower people to be compassionate citizens in order to inspire conservation of the natural world we all share. JGI uses research, collaboration with local communities, best-in-class animal welfare standards, and the innovative use of science and technology to inspire hope and transform it into action for the common good. Through our Roots & Shoots program for young people of all ages, now active in over 50 countries around the world, JGI is creating an informed and compassionate critical mass of people who will help to create a better world for people, other animals and our shared environment.

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About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.