Human Histories and
Cultures Impact

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hominin skeletal specimens found by Explorer at Large Lee Berger’s team at a new fossil site in South Africa.
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Our COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists provided more than $2.5 million in support of storytellers on the front lines of the pandemic.
2,300-year-old submerged tomb of the Kushite King Nastasen found in Sudan by Pearce Paul Creasman.

Understanding our past and protecting our future

Our Human Histories and Cultures work covers projects that aim to preserve cultural knowledge and/or better understand human histories, cultures, practices, diversity, and evolution–past and present; and projects that center communities and inform and inspire global audiences with stories or lessons about humanity.
featured program

Out of Eden Walk

In 2013, Paul Salopek set out on a 24,000-mile odyssey to retrace our ancestors’ global migration. Moving at the beat of his own footsteps, Paul is walking the pathways of the first humans who migrated out of Africa in the Stone Age and made the Earth ours. Along the way, he is covering the major stories of our time — from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival — by giving voice to the people who inhabit them every day. 

In the field

Our Human Histories and Cultures Explorers

From human rights issues and stories of survival to the evolution of ancient species and human progress, they map out our shared past.

Our Human Histories and Cultures Explorers dedicate their lives to documenting, investigating, studying, and preserving our planet’s past and uncovering the very roots of humanity. Revealing stories from the past brings context to the modern-day. 

Read more stories of impact from some of our Explorers on

Pablo Albarenga: Exploring modern colonization through photography

Tara Roberts: Diving with a purpose

Paul Salopek: Retracing humanity's ancient migration, on foot

An Explorer's perspective on

Making a difference

"I am convinced that this unusual time in our collective history shows that humans are undeniably interrelated with nature and that a human population in balance depends on a planet in balance."
Tamara Merino
National Geographic Explorer & Visual Storyteller
Join US

Help us protect our human stories

Cultivate curiosity in the next generation

Dig deeper into Human Histories & Cultures and download resources we've made available for educators and learners in our Resource Library. We've provided lessons, articles, maps, videos, and so much more, to inspire our mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world.

Support our work

As a global community, we have a duty to preserve our rich histories and cultures. We believe that when people understand our shared histories, they can better appreciate its cultural wonders and care for one another. Will you help protect the wonder of our world?

Photo Credits from top of page: Robert Clark, John Stanmeyer, ​​Cristián Mora, Jim Richardson, Ami Vitale. Below: Michael Nichols, Andy Mann, Paul Nicklen, Ami Vitale, Christian Tryon, Kenneth Garrett, Mark Thiessen.

Get updates about our critical work to explore and protect our planet.

The National Geographic Society is proud to invest in a global community of intrepid Explorers working to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Make a tax-deductible gift to support the Society today, and your support will help fund the next generation of changemakers.