'Discovering Chimpanzees' exhibit re-creates Dr. Goodall's Gombe camp, educates about chimpanzees

Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking chimpanzee research helped blur the line separating human from nonhuman animals. Now you can learn about her discoveries through a traveling museum exhibit titled “Discovering Chimpanzees: The Remarkable World of Jane Goodall”. This interactive exhibit, which accompanies the large-screen format (“IMAX”) movie Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees, immerses visitors into the sounds and scenes of Tanzania’s lush Gombe Stream National Park. Science North in collaboration with Dr. Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute present this remarkable exhibit, which is traveling in Canada and the U.S. throughout 2003 and 2004.

Visitors can begin their journeys along a forest path, wearing prosthetic chimp arms to try and knuckle-walk. They can climb into a chimp nest cradled in the crook of a tree, record their own versions of pant-hoot calls, and learn about other calls, body language, and the facial expressions used to communicate a wide range of needs and emotion.

They also can explore Jane’s early research and discoveries by stepping into a model of her first research tent. On display are Dr. Goodall’s actual field notes, as well as photographs, books, artifacts of Jane’s early years, and video clips she has narrated. The tool-use section allows visitors to try their hand at ‘termite fishing’ by using a twig to poke into a simulated termite hill. Young scientists can test their observations of chimpanzee behavior by recording field notes while watching video segments of chimp activity and then comparing their notes with Jane’s.

Computer stations help users understand more about primate behavior and Jane’s work around the world, including JGI chimpanzee sanctuaries. On a website created by The Exploration Network in Canada, users can hear Jane demonstrate a chimpanzee greeting and learn if chimp geniuses exists. Importantly, they also can learn about threats facing wild chimpanzees, including their diminishing habitat and the illegal bushmeat trade.

The exhibit introduces Roots & Shoots, including a collection of photographs from Roots & Shoots chapters worldwide showing children engaged in environmental activities. It also features six showcases that tell some of Jane’s favorite stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things to change the world.

Jane believes "every individual matters, every individual has a role to play, and every individual makes a difference.” As the exhibit nears its end, it features a large mirror inscribed with this quote, and an adjacent area where visitors are invited to leave a note describing their personal commitment to creating positive change for our planet.

Leaving the exhibit, visitors see a life-size video image of Jane projected on an 8-foot-high screen and hear her heartfelt personal message.

 

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