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12.13.2010 / Get the Dirt on Soil at the Durham Museum

Did you know that there are more living creatures in a shovel-full of soil than human beings on the planet, yet more is known about the dark side of the moon than about soil? These are just a couple of the fascinating facts visitors can learn from the new temporary exhibition Dig It! The Secrets of Soil, which will be on display at The Durham Museum until December 26, 2010.

"Dig It! The Secrets of Soil will be on display at The Durham Museum until December 26, 2010."

The 4,000-square-foot display, created by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, reveals the complex world of soil and how this hidden ecosystem supports nearly every form of life on earth. You can explore soil found in your own backyard (well found in Nebraska’s anyway) and in obscure locations, with 54 soil samples representing each U.S. state and territory and the District of Columbia. There are also soil maps and touchable soil models. You will discover a world teaming with life. In fact, so many organisms contribute to the health of soil that scientists have not even named them all!

Dig It! shows how every type of soil is unique. You can observe the way water moves through different soils in tumbler tubes containing sand, silt, and clay. Did you know that the flow of water through soil can affect minerals and gases and all life that depends on soil?  Or that soil color tells fascinating stories about mineral compositions and soil formation and history?  Dig It! color cards will help you unveil the stories behind soil samples. You can also get in touch with your inner detective and learn about the soil food web in the “Matters of Life and Death Theater.”

After examining soil close up, you can step back and see the “big picture” with a world map and interactive stations that present the connection between soil and global systems. Models demonstrate the roles of soil around the house and the formation of soil in commercial and residential construction, dams, playing fields, neighborhoods, roads and in food production. An evocative video explains soil’s role as a “secret ingredient” in such household goods as medicines, food, wine, textiles, paint, cosmetics and pottery.

Who knew that dirt could be so fascinating!? Be sure to check it out for yourself this month and visit Dig It! at The Durham Museum!

Have you been to Dig It! Already? We want to hear what you thought of it.

Posted at 09:23 AM | Permalink
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