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National Geographic Museum Receives American Alliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibition Award for “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall”

On June 4, 2020 the National Geographic Museum was honored as an overall award winner by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) for its “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall” exhibition, produced in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute.

On June 4, 2020 the National Geographic Museum was honored as an overall award winner by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) for its “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall” exhibition, produced in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute. The honor was granted as part of the AAM’s 32nd Annual Excellence in Exhibition Competition, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the exhibition format from all types of museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and any other types of non-commercial institutions offering exhibitions to the public. The National Geographic Museum offers congratulations to the Royal Ontario Museum, co-recipient of the overall award. 

The exhibition explores Dr. Jane Goodall’s life from her early years as an intrepid young woman with a dream of learning 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 all life on Earth. This year was an especially opportune time to partner with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to develop an exhibition celebrating her life and legacy, as it marks the 60th anniversary of Dr. Goodall’s arrival in Gombe National Park and six decades of research that continues today as the world’s longest-running study of wild chimpanzees. This critical work is carried on through JGI, which advances Dr. Goodall’s vision and work. JGI’s contributions were integral in telling her story and sharing her message of hope in a deeply personal and impactful way.

“I am so glad to see the Becoming Jane exhibit earn this richly deserved recognition. I look forward to seeing it reach more and more audiences as it travels around over the next several years.”Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

In AAM’s announcement of the award, competition coordinator Becky Menlove, deputy director, director for the visitor experience at the Natural History Museum of Utah said, “It was an enormous pleasure to see the wide range of stellar entries that came in for the 32nd annual Excellence in Exhibitions Competition. With thirty-nine submissions from across the US and Canada, we reviewed exhibitions from large and small organizations representing the full spectrum of museum types, from fine arts museums to botanical gardens, children’s museums to historical sites. It was inspiring to see the degree to which museums are striving to create relevant and meaningful exhibitions that not only engage, but in many cases also reflect the audiences served by these projects.”

“The entire team at National Geographic Exhibitions is immensely proud to be honored with an award of this caliber. We believe in the power of experiential storytelling to educate, inspire, and illuminate the wonder of our world. As we produced ‘Becoming Jane,’ our goal was to create a unique hybrid of traditional museum content, cutting edge entertainment technology, and deeply personal reflection from Jane Goodall herself to make an impact that resonated with visitors long beyond their visit.” Alan Parente, vice president of creative.

Special thanks go to the Jane Goodall Institute for donating Dr. Goodall’s personal artifacts and for sharing rare images, footage, and stories that provided a never-before-seen look into Dr. Goodall’s past and present. 

Thanks also to our partners at Falcon’s Creative Group and NeoPangea, which helped develop the interactives that brought Dr. Goodall’s story — one of fearless determination, curiosity, the pursuit of knowledge and a passionate love of the natural world — to life. Though the National Geographic Museum is closed until further notice, the “Becoming Jane” exhibition has been extended through April 5, 2021. In the meantime, a virtual tour is available at natgeo.org/virtualjane.

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