Human Genome Exhibition

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In 2013, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History partnered to create the Smithsonian exhibition: Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code. The exhibit celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Human Genome Project’s 2003 completion of sequencing of the human genome and the 60-year anniversary of Drs. Watson and Crick’s 1953 discovery of the DNA double-helix. More than 2.5 million visitors saw the exhibit, which used high-tech, hands-on activities and educational programming to help make genomics accessible, understandable and exciting to the general public.

The Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code traveling exhibit is currently on a five-year tour, appearing in museums and science centers across North America. The central mission of the exhibit continues to be highlighting the wonder and power of the genome, which contains the code of instructions for building all organisms. The exhibit educates and informs the public about genomic science and shows how the knowledge of it revolutionizes our understanding of biology, health and the natural world.

To learn more about the traveling exhibit and to see upcoming dates and locations, please visit: unlockinglifescode.org.

Goals

  • Travel to museums and science centers across North America on a five-year tour.
  • Celebrate the Human Genome Project’s 2003 completion of sequencing of the human genome and Drs. Watson and Crick’s 1953 discovery of the DNA double-helix.
  • Use high-tech, hands-on activities and educational programming to help make genomics accessible, understandable and exciting to the general public.

Results & Accomplishments

As the exhibit tours the country, many local communities hold festivals and scientific lectures that celebrate genome research.

On July 9, 2016, the Natural History Museum of Utah held a DNA Day Festival, making genomic information accessible to the local community with hands-on activities and talks by local scientists. More than 450 kids, teens and adults from these communities participated in the festival, and more than 800 people attended the exhibit.

On April 19, 2017, the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Illinois held An Evening with the Experts: Genomics and Our Health. The evening symposium featured 30-minute lectures on precision medicine by NHGRI Director Eric Green M.D., Ph.D. and Leslie Biesecker M.D., NHGRI Chief of the Medical Genomics & Metabolic Genetics Branch and Director of the Physician Scientist Development Program. Following the lectures, Gary Knepp M.D., Chief Medical Officer at UnityPoint Methodist, moderated a Q&A session between the audience and the panelists.

On April 25, 2017, NHGRI and NIH’s Office of the Director hosted a National DNA Day Twitter Chat that included the NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Eric Green and special guest NASA Astronaut Dr. Kate Rubins. Dr. Collins, Dr. Green and Astronaut Rubins answered questions posed on Twitter by the general public. The chat had over 111,000,000 impressions, reached over 27 countries, was a number one trending discussion during the actual chat and the @dnaday handle was the number one handle tweeted during the chat.

Media

The New York Times (Aug. 29, 2013): The ABC’s of Your DNA: ‘Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code,’ at the Smithsonian

Support

The FNIH accepts funding in support of the exhibit while it tours North America. To make a donation or for additional information, please contact development@fnih.org.

Partners

23andMe, Inc.
Affymetrix
American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation
American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics
The Brin Wojcicki Foundation
Celgene Corporation
Genentech
National Human Genome Research Institute
Johnson & Johnson
Mike & Beth Hunkapille
New England Biolabs and Promega Corporation
Stephen P.A. Fodor, Ph.D.
Pacific Biosciences
Exhibit sponsors through the Smithsonian Institution include Ancestry.com, HISTORY, The Life Technologies Foundation and Yonder Biology x Max Nais.

Contact

Development Office, Development@fnih.org