This November the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) is piloting a brand new exhibition brought to South Texas directly from Washington D.C. As an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, the IMAS has the opportunity to exhibit traveling Smithsonian exhibits, and IMAS is now the first affiliate museum to present Dig It! The Secrets of Soil.

McAllen ISD second graders were among the first to visit this bilingual traveling exhibition and learn about the future of farming, soil types, minerals, and health impacts among other deeper dives. “We are forming connections to their classroom curriculum and the region by discussing the importance of soil for everyday life,” shares Claudia Martinez Gray, IMAS Director of Education. “The students are able to view the exhibit and conduct a hands-on science investigation with two types of soil found here in the Rio Grande Valley to better understand why soil is a basic need for plants and animals, including humans.”

Dig It! The Secrets of Soil is an exhibition created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C. The main message of Dig It! is understanding soils’ crucial role to our everyday lives. The International Museum of Art & Science will be hosting this exhibition in the Discovery Pavilion beginning on November 3, 2021, through April 3, 2022. The exhibition also features interactives such as a microscope table for a closer look at soils and an art activity inspired by soil profiles researched by soil scientists. Visitors can learn more and share about their experience with #DigItSoilsDIY #SoilScience on social media.

MISD Students experience Dig It at the IMAS - piloted Smithsonian exhibit

“IMAS was honored to be asked by the Smithsonian Affiliations to be the first Affiliate museum nationally to host Dig It!” added Ann Fortescue, IMAS President and Executive Director. “Being selected for this opportunity further acknowledges the outstanding work of the IMAS staff and the confidence in their abilities to take this opportunity to fully engage audiences of all ages in our community with this exciting and relevant topic.”

In addition to exhibiting Dig It! the IMAS will host a Soil Science Expo weekend January 15 and 16, 2022 for visitors to further explore the significance of soil in the Rio Grande Valley. The weekend-long event will feature noteworthy lectures, a family-friendly community day, and special art and science activities.

The Dig It! exhibition project is a collaborative effort between the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Dig It! DIY is made possible by the generous support of the Soil Science Society of America.

Pictured: Second grade students from McAllen ISD are the first to visit this new exhibition, Dig it! The Secrets of Soil at the International Museum of Art & Science.

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