Construction of ISRIC museum to start after the summer

Museum (with green roof) on Wageningen campus

Construction of the new, multifunctional ISRIC World Soil Museum will start in October 2012.The building will also serve as the entrance to the offices of ISRIC and the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) of Wageningen UR. The new museum will be situated near the entrance of Wageningen Campus. Visitors will enter at a central reception desk, and from there can continue upstairs to the ISRIC World Soil Museum located above the reception area, or to the ISRIC offices in the Gaia building. The museum should be ready for use in April 2013.

ISRIC has more than 1,000 soil profiles from throughout the world, as well as many maps, samples and thin sections, some of which will be on display for researchers, university and high-school students, and guests of ISRIC, ESG and Wageningen UR.  ‘The soil is no more than a thin layer of just one to two meters’, says ISRIC Director Prem Bindraban, ‘It is no more than the epidermis of the earth. Yet it determines everything that lives and grows on the planet.’ Whether your interest is food production, climate change, drinking water, the landscape, biodiversity, pollution, it is all related to the soil. ‘Knowledge about soil is essential for sustainable use of the earth’s soil. Collecting and sharing that knowledge is what ISRIC stands for’, says Bindraban.

The museum will have a modern look, to attract a wider target group than before. The ISRIC collection is unique in the world. With it, visitors gain a sound understanding of the diversity of world soils, from the wet tropics near the equator to the tundra’s of the far north. Modern ICTs are being used to ‘bring to life’ the soils reference collection. It will thus be made accessible for a broader range of uses. ‘We are thinking along the lines of special student days, for example, for groups from high schools and colleges’, according to Bindraban. ‘We will also organise special activities, for example, during the National Science Days, Wageningen Knowledge Days, and university open houses. This will enable the museum to contribute to student recruitment as well as the training of future scientists.’