The Fayette Citizen-Weekend Page

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Fernbank Museum launches exhibit about Jane Goodall's Life and Work

Fernbank Museum of Natural History delves deep into the world of the chimpanzee with the special exhibition “Discovering Chimpanzees: The Remarkable World of Jane Goodall.”  On view from February 7-April 25, Discovering Chimpanzees uses the research of renowned scientist Jane Goodall to explore some of the world's most recognizable and beloved primates.

Jane Goodall has spent more than 40 years in the African tropical forest of Gombe National Park, studying the lives of chimpanzees in the wild.  Her earliest discovery ­ that chimpanzees create and use tools, something that was originally thought to be a uniquely human ability ­ forced the scientific community to rethink its distinction between humans and animals. Over the years, Dr. Goodall discovered several startling similarities between humans and chimps and recent testing has confirmed that chimpanzees and humans share more than 98 percent of DNA.

"Discovering Chimpanzees gives visitors a sense of Dr. Goodall's remarkable story and her global influence, while taking them on an exciting adventure," said Fernbank's President and CEO, Susan Neugent. "It's an up close and personal encounter with both Dr. Goodall, and some very endearing chimpanzee characters."

"This incredible exhibit...can answer...the questions that will be raised (by visitors)'s brilliant!" said Dr. Goodall.  

The exhibition immerses visitors in the forest environment of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, where they meet Dr. Goodall's now famous chimpanzee subjects, and get an up-close look at them as they fight, hunt, play and communicate with each other. They see how Dr. Goodall's relationship with the chimps evolves from one of strictly scientific interest to one of devotion and commitment to chimpanzee survival, through the four distinct exhibit areas.

The Chimp Forest takes visitors into the jungle home of the chimpanzees, allowing them to experience what it's like to be a chimp in the lush foliage of the Tanzanian jungle. With the help of chimpanzee-length arm extenders, visitors can learn what it's like to walk like a chimp. Other interactive areas teach visitors how to "talk" and "fish" for termites like a chimp. Those dexterous visitors can even climb into a chimp nest.

The Work of Jane Goodall brings Goodall’s 40 years of research alive, through field notes, photographs, video clips and other artifacts. Visitors sit in a recreation of Goodall's field research tent and watch moving video accounts of some of Dr. Goodall's most memorable achievements and milestones. The Gombe Timeline documents the "family history" of the chimps, exploring family structure, alpha male dominance, and the remarkable genealogy of the Gombe matriarchs like Flo and Melissa.

Primates is an exploration of the Order of Primates. Visitors learn about each of the 12 families of primates, their habitats and threats to their survival. They also get to compare their physical characteristics to those of other primates and join in the Primate Reunion for a "family photo."

Reason for Hope is a demonstration of the successful initiatives of individuals, who have taken action to deal with environmental and societal issues. Visitors receive an inspirational message of hope from life-size representation of Dr. Goodall and learn that much of her recent work is focused on the future.

Discovering Chimpanzees: The Remarkable World of Jane Goodall is on view at Fernbank Museum of Natural History from February 7-April 25. This special exhibition is presented in conjunction with the companion film Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees, showing in the IMAX® Theatre from February 7-late summer. Separate tickets are required.  

Museum admission, which includes the special exhibition Discovering Chimpanzees is $12 for adults, $11 for students and seniors, and $10 for children 12 and under.  Combination tickets, which include Museum admission and an IMAX film, are $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $13 for children

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road, N.E. in Atlanta. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from  noon to 5 p.m. More information is available at or by calling 404-929-6300.  To reserve tickets in advance, call 404-929-6400.

The exhibition was developed by Science North, located in Sudbury, Canada.

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