Earlier this week one of my favorite organizations, the National Geographic Society, celebrated its 125th anniversary, an amazing milestone to say the least. Over the course of all of those years, I think it is safe to say that Nat Geo has stood as one of the enduring symbols of both exploration and adventure, and in the process it has become one of the most recognizable and iconic brands on the planet.
Its founders couldn’t have envisioned where the Society would go so far in the future, but the organization continues to follow the path they charted even in the 21st century.
The National Geographic Society can trace its origins back to a meeting of 33 explorers and scientists who gathered together for the first time on January 13, 1888. They came up with the idea of creating a club of sorts whose expressed goal was to “for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.” It took them a couple of weeks to come up with a constitution and a set of guidelines to govern this new organization and on January 27, the National Geographic Society was officially born.
Nine months later, in October of that year, the first issue of National Geographic Magazine would be published, bringing one of the most well known elements of the Society to the public for the first time. That magazine remains a popular periodical to this day, releasing 12 issues each year and continuing to be published in 32 different languages.
From the beginning, National Geographic’s mission has always been “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world’s cultural, historical, and natural resources.” That sentiment remains at the heart of the Society to this day and while the tools with which they conduct that mission may have changed over the years, the organization continues to be focused on that goal. That focus is a big part of why Nat Geo remains just as relevant and important today as it was 125 years ago.
Throughout the year, NG will be celebrating its 125th year of existence in a number of ways. For example, the January issue of the magazine was dedicated to 125 years of exploration and helped usher in a new era as well. The Nat Geo website is also sharing some of the more memorable moments from its history, while also dedicating an entire microsite just to the year-long celebration.
Congratulations to everyone at Nat Geo for continuing the legacy of the organization and shepherding exploration and adventure along to a new generation of explorers yet to come.
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