Under the protection of its iconic yellow frame, in the last century and a half the National Geographic Society has supported the careers of scientists and researchers from all around the world. Figures such as North Pole explorer Robert E. Peary, or the man who discovered the city of Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham, as well as figures closer to our contemporary period. This is the case of the primatologists Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey; Robert Ballard, the oceanographer and marine archaeologist who discovered the remains of the Titanic; the film-maker James Cameron, the Spanish marine biologist Enric Sala, or the most recent winner of the 2018 Princess of Asturias Award, the marine biologist Sylvia Earle.
A window to the world. 130 years of NG shows us not only the history of Society and its legacy, but also the evolution of an institution that has been capable of adapting to the times, and varying the definition of its main missions according to the demands of these times. Although at the beginning, the goal of the 33 founders was to explore the geography of the world and search for places that were still unknown to man, challenges have varied with time to accommodate other priorities. Geography has given way to the exploration of other worlds: space, with articles and documentaries about NASA missions and unknown universes such as Mars, and the oceans, the current last frontier, source of life from the beginning of our planet, and one of the main conservation missions in order to guarantee the survival of our species. In words of Sylvia Earle, “No Green without Blue”, in reference to how much we depend on the sustainability of the seabed in order to regain the environmental balance.
Past, present and future of National Geographic
Through photographs, videos, and iconic items, the exhibition delves into these issues, presented in five sections, through which we will learn more about its early days, but especially about its present and future of National Geographic, its missions, and their meaning. Visitors will begin their journey in Terra Incognita, where we celebrate the birth of the Society and the age of expeditions. In Origin, visitors will learn about the explorations that have contributed to discovering our development as a species. In De Profundis we propose a look at this vital underwater world, with the presence of the Pristine Seas Project, the mission implemented by Enric Sala, which has become the most relevant of its kind for the Society at this time.
In The Future at Stake we look towards space, but also at the challenges we have as a species to reverse the degradation of our natural environment, and finally, the Coexistence section shows other challenges that National Geographic also currently addresses, such as gender and racial diversity in our global society, the most relevant issues of the present.