Becoming Jane at the Field Museum explores the life and legacy of Jane Goodall

Becoming Jane at the Field Museum explores the life and legacy of Jane Goodall
Dr. Jane Goodall and friend

Perhaps best known for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees, Dr. Jane Goodall revolutionized the way scientists study the natural world challenging how people picture scientists, both in terms of research techniques and gender roles in the field.

A special exhibit, Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall, at the Field Museum explores her 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 National Park, Tanzania, to her present role as an activist, mentor and advocate for creating a better world for all life on Earth.

Becoming Jane gives such a personal look at Dr. Goodall,” says Jaap Hoogstraten, the Field Museum’s director of exhibitions. “She’s a figure that’s changed the way that we see animals and inspired countless people to help protect our planet, and we’re excited to bring her story, and some of her personal belongings, to the Field.”

Photo by Hugo Van Lawick, Jane Goodall Institute

Widely known for her innovative approach to animal behavior research, Dr. Goodall traveled to what is now Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park and immersed herself in the natural habitat of wild chimpanzees.

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.


Highlights of the exhibition include some of Dr. Goodall’s childhood belongings, including a beloved stuffed monkey, interspersed with stories about her as a budding naturalist, studying a chicken coop at age four.

The exhibition also features augmented reality interactives that invite visitors to try their hand at chimpanzee vocalizations, a hologram-like projection of Dr. Goodall sharing her memories of living among the chimpanzees, and a replica of her field research tent.

The exhibit

What: The Field’s newest exhibition, Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall

Where: Field Museum, 1400 S DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

When: The exhibition runs now through September 6, 2021, presented in English and with a Spanish translation booklet

Admission: included with the museum upgraded ticket

About Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, is an iconic voice for holistic, compassionate, and sustainable solutions. Through her global advocacy as an ethologist and environmentalist, she is shaping attitudes and policy on issues ranging from human rights to the climate crisis, and inspiring action through the power of hope.

Jane Goodall was born on April 3rd, 1934, in London, England. At the age of 26, Jane followed her passion for wildlife and Africa to Gombe, Tanzania. There, under the mentorship of paleoanthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey, she began her landmark study of chimpanzees in the wild. Her revelatory observation in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific landscape and forever redefined our understanding of the relationship between humans and other animals.  

In 1977, Dr. Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global community-led conservation, research, and animal welfare organization to advance her vision of a better future for all. In 1991, Dr. Goodall created Roots & Shoots, JGI’s international youth program, now active in more than 60 countries, to develop the compassionate changemakers our world needs.  

From scientist to world-renowned activist, Jane has been a leader in the community-led conservation and animal welfare movements for decades.   

Filed under: Exhibitions, Field Museum.

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