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"Chocolate: The Exhibition" opens May 9 at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

RALEIGH — A gift for the gods. A symbol of wealth and luxury. An economic livelihood. Bonbons. Hot fudge. Candy bars. Get the complete story behind the tasty treat that we crave in Chocolate: The Exhibition, a tantalizing, fully bilingual exhibition showing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh from May 9 to September 7, 2009.

From rain forest treasure to luscious treat — immerse yourself in the story of chocolate. You'll begin in the rain forest with the unique cacao tree whose seeds started it all. Visit the ancient Maya civilization of Central America and discover what chocolate meant nearly 1,500 years ago. Then travel forward in time and northward to the Aztec civilization of 16th-century Mexico, where cacao seeds were so valuable they were used as money. Discover chocolate's introduction into the upper classes of European society and its transformation into a mass-produced world commodity.

Through scenic elements, original video, interactive exhibition techniques, photographs from around the world, and more than 200 replicated artifacts and props, Chocolate will engage your senses and reveal facets of this sumptuous sweet that you've never thought about before. You'll explore the plant, the products and the culture of chocolate through the lenses of science, history and popular culture. Chocolate is a sweet experience for all ages!

The Museum is also planning an array of public programs, cooking demonstrations, guest speakers, and other special events highlighting the many facets of chocolate. For programming updates, please visit naturalsciences.org. The Museum has also added an Investigate Lab, within the exhibition designed to provide hands-on interactives for younger children, and a Chocolate Museum Store at the end of the exhibit. Exhibition tickets are currently available online. Prices: $7 for adults, $5 for seniors/students/military and $4 for children (5–11). Free to children under 5 and Friends of the Museum.

Chocolate and its national tour were developed by The Field Museum, Chicago and is being sponsored locally by UNC-TV. This project was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.


The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications, and educational programming. Hours: Mon.–Sat., 9 am to 5 pm, and Sun., noon to 5 pm. General admission is free. The Museum is an agency of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary.