The Tobacco Farm Life Museum has opened a new exhibit about the history and science of soil and water conservation.
It All Starts With the Land was a collaborative effort between the museum, the University of Mount Olive School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the North Carolina Division of Soil and Water Conservation.
The introductory panel to the new exhibit.
“We are very happy with not only the final product, but the process of collaborating with these partners,” said Melody Worthington, the museum’s executive director.
The process of developing the exhibit began as a class project for soil science classes taught by Professor Kim Tungate at the University of Mount Olive in the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020. Students visited the museum, chose the key topics to be covered, did research, and drafted text. Museum staff then edited the text, added background on the history of conservation, and worked closely with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Statistics Division graphic designers to bring the students’ vision to life.
Dr. Sandy Maddox, Dean of School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at the University of Mount Olive, said of the project: “This collaborative effort provided UMO agriculture students a unique opportunity to participate in the creation of a display that will educate many about the importance of soil, the role it plays in our lives and the need to protect this valuable resource. To be a part of this project was a very meaningful experience for the students. They are very proud of their efforts and for the opportunity to partner with the amazing agencies that made this undertaking a reality.”
The end result is an engaging exhibit that covers the importance of soil and water conservation for all of us, but most especially for farmers. The exhibit includes topics such as soil erosion, water quality, nutrient management, land loss, and more. It also connects the history museum to the science of agriculture. Images, infographics, and QR codes that link to educational videos all bring the topics to life and explain the importance of soil and water conservation.
“Since the museum is staffed by historians, we relied on our partners to make sure the science of soil and water conservation was accurate and we learned a lot in the process. I also enjoyed researching the history of conservation practices, and I love that we were able to successfully intertwine the history and science,” said Beth Nevarez who consults on the museum’s collections and exhibits and managed the project.
The exhibit is included with regular admission for self-guided tours and is now on view. Plan your visit to check it out!