Conservation image

The GCI completed expanding and updating the exhibits at the Olduvai Museum in Tanzania. This was the final component of the Institute's Laetoli project, which involved working with the government of Tanzania to protect the 3.6-million-year-old hominid footprints at Laetoli, discovered by Mary Leakey in the late 1970s. Mary Leakey originally created the museum at Olduvai in 1970 to provide visitors with information on the significant anthropological discoveries made at Olduvai Gorge; an exhibit was later added on the site of Laetoli, which is some 25 kilometers south of the gorge. Although the museum is small, it is visited by most of the 100,000 annual visitors to the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park, as well as by school groups from the region. For the museum at Olduvai, the Institute team created new exhibition panels with images and text and a replica of part of the footprint trail. In addition to highlighting the importance of Laetoli in human evolution and the conservation project there, the exhibits, in English and Swahili, pay tribute to the 60 years of work by Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli.

The renovated museum was officially reopened on October 15, 1998. The vice president of Tanzania, Omar Ali Juma, attended the reopening ceremony.