Thursday, April 3, 2008

In Touch with a World of Soil Museums

Excitement is building about the upcoming Smithsonian “Dig It! The Secrets of Soil” exhibit, which opens at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, on July 19, 2008.

Attendees of the Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference in Tucson, Arizona, July 26-30, 2008, will get an early inside scoop on the exhibit with special presentations by Ellen Bergfeld and Paul Kamps from the Soil Science Society of America and Barbara Stauffer, Jennifer Bine, and Pat Megonigal from the Smithsonian Institution. Highlights will include a virtual tour of the exhibit. Go to for more information.

Soil museums exist in many parts of the world—for example, the Soil Science Institute, Nanjing, China; the Guangdong Institute of Eco-Environment and Soil Sciences, Guangdong, China; the National Institute of Soils and Fertilizers, Hanoi, Vietnam; and the Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute, Dehra Dun , India. In addition, the Land Development Department (LDD) Soil Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, has recently been completed. (List courtesy of Samran Sombatpanit, World Association of Soil and Water Conservation.)

Students visiting the World Soil Museum. Photo courtesy of A. Hartemink/ISRIC.

Perhaps the best-known soil museum is the World Soil Museum in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The World Soil Museum is hosted by ISRIC – World Soil Information and headed by soil scientist Alfred Hartemink. Go to to learn more.

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