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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

‘Unlocking Life’s Code’

Genome Exhibition Pieces Now on Display at NIH

A piece of the genome exhibit in the NIH Library

Components are located in Bldg. 31 C and the NIH Library in the Clinical Center.

Photo: Eric Bock

A piece of the exhibit located in Bldg. 31C

The larger exhibition opened originally in 2013 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and later traveled to sites throughout North America.

Photo: Eric Bock

A piece of the exhibit located in Bldg. 31 C

The Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code exhibition is on display at NIH.

Photo: Eric Bock

A piece of the exhibit located in Bldg. 31C

Several prominent exhibit components are on display on the Bethesda campus.

Photo: Eric Bock

The Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code exhibition in Bldg. 31

When the exhibit closed in 2022, NHGRI took possession of several of its prominent pieces, relocating them to the NIH campus.

Photo: Eric Bock

Several pieces of the Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code exhibition are now on display on NIH’s Bethesda campus. 

The exhibition is a collaboration between the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). It opened in 2013 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA. 

Following a roughly 15-month stay at NMNH, the exhibit traveled throughout North America, visiting history museums and science centers in 12 states and Canada, for an additional nine years. It returned to NMNH for its final public viewing in 2022. 

The installation examines the complexities of genomes—particularly the human genome—and chronicles the remarkable breakthroughs that have taken place since HGP completion in 2003. It highlights both the benefits and challenges that genomics brings to modern society.

When the exhibit closed in 2022, NHGRI took possession of several of its prominent pieces, relocating them to the NIH campus. Those pieces are now on display in the following locations:  

  • Where It All Began

Bldg. 10, Rm. 1L-25 (NIH Library)

Learn about HGP history, timeline, challenges and achievements.

  • You’re a Superorganism!

Bldg. 31, 2C Elevator Lobby

Explore how microorganisms and your microbiome affect your health and influence your risk for many disorders.

  • What Genomics Might Mean for You

Bldg. 31, 3C Elevator Lobby

Discover how scientists unraveled the code of DNA and completed the first human genome sequence.

  • What’s in Your Genome?

Bldg. 31, 4C Elevator Lobby

Explore the human genome—the three-billion-part instruction manual written in the twisting, ladder-shaped molecule known as DNA.

  • What’s Your Risk?

Bldg. 31, 5C Elevator Lobby

Learn about health risk factors; genes make a difference, but how much of a difference depends on many factors—including lifestyle choices, diet, environment and age.

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