What’s it all about?

What’s it all about?

How much do you know about the world beneath your feet? The soil we walk on is teeming with life – a quarter of all species on Earth, in fact. And the ecosystem underfoot is responsible for the vast majority of our food, fibers, construction material, clean water, medicine, and climate regulation. Dig It! The Secrets of Soil, developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, explores the complex world of soil and the profound ways it supports nearly every form of life on Earth. Learn about the extensive role of soil in agriculture, architecture and construction, art and rituals, medicine, water filtration, and much more.

What Can I See and Do?

What Can I See and Do?

Using videos, hands-on models, interactive displays and real soil samples, Dig It! presents an eye-opening and engaging story about soil, the “skin of the earth.” An array of 54 soil monoliths from across the United States display soil’s amazing variety of color and texture. And a chef challenge interactive reveals the secret ingredients to “cooking up” different soil types. Exhibit features include a shopping cart full of your favorite North Carolina grown produce and products, as well as a display celebrating the state’s handmade pottery culture.

Visitors are encouraged to dig deeper into soil lessons and activities in the exhibit’s classroom. From coloring books to a high-tech, augmented reality sandbox, the classroom offers fun for all ages.

Special Events

Special Events

Roots in Clay: NC Potter Ben Owen III, and Dig It! Sneak Peek
Friday, May 15, 5-8:45pm

Watch as Owen demonstrates how pottery is crafted on a traditional kick wheel. Owen will present a lecture, Roots in Clay, at 7pm in the WRAL 3D Theater and welcome guests to join a discussion on preserving North Carolina’s pottery culture. Tickets are $15, $10 Members
More information

Buried Treasures: Antibiotics And The Hidden World Of Soil Microbes
Science Cafe, June 25

If you've ever used an antibiotic, thank the soil—about 80% of antibiotics were first isolated from soil microorganisms! Are there more waiting to be discovered beneath our feet?
More information

Meet Some Live Animals Who Dig It!
Windows on the World, Weekends in July, Aug. 10-14

Storytime and Meet the Animals programs will feature animals who live underground and how they are specially adapted for life in the soil.
More information

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

DigIt! The Secrets of Soil Website
Explore some of the exhibit’s interactive games and videos. Find a library of resources for educators from the Smithsonian.

2015 International Year of Soil
The UN General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soil. Find events, communication toolkits, and many more resources.

K-12 Soil Science Activities
Find lesson plans and activities for every grade level.

How to Make Soil Crayons and Painting with Soil
Follow these instructions from the USDA to make naturally beautiful artwork.

Get Your Soil Tested
Read about the importance of soil testing and instructions on collecting and submitting a soil sample to the NC Agronomic Services Division. View a sample submission form.

Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)
The SSSA is a international community of scientific professionals that provides resources to professionals and the public. Check out The Story of Soil videos on their website.

Soil Science Society of North Carolina (SSSNC)
The SSSNC is a professional association in the soil science field whose mission is to promote and share knowledge about the soils of North Carolina.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA)
Find out more about the goodness that grows in NC, and what the NCDA does to promote food safety, environmental protection, and resource conservation.

NC State Department fo Soil Science
NC State trains future soil scientists at the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate levels. The program prepares students for many career opportunties.

Future Farmers of America (FFA)
The FFA is a student organization that trains those interested in agriculture in leadership and career development. Visit their North Carolina Chapter website to find out how to get involved.