Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology

Current Exhibitions

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Deeply Rooted: How Soil Connects Us

Opening date: January 26, 2023, 4:00 p.m.

Chico, CA—What connects us to each other, to nature, to life itself? The hidden world under our feet: soil. The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology at Chico State is offering a new student-curated exhibition, Deeply Rooted: How Soil Connects Us, to open on January 26th, 2023. Under the instruction of museum director, Dr. William Nitzky, and in partnership with soil scientist, Dr. Garrett Liles, Exhibition Design students present the incredible universe of soil and the vital role it plays across global ecosystems and cultures. The exhibition brings together aspects of science and cultural history with special attention given to regenerative agriculture as a path to support soil and human health. Visitors come away with deeper appreciation and insight into our relationship with soil.

Deeply Rooted: How Soil Connects Us offers the North State an immersive, interactive, and educational experience that illustrates how soils connect diverse aspects of the natural world and human experience. Visitors will marvel at the subterranean tunnel that welcomes them into the secret world below us. They will learn how soil has been a vital resource for not only food production, but also a medium for art, home construction, medicine, and cultural identity. The exhibit also recognizes the Mechoopda upon whose homeland Chico State resides. The tribe’s enduring presence continues and is on display in this exhibition with stories and art by current tribal members. Central to the exhibition is also a soil horizon interactive table of Butte County and Lassen Park, offering insight into the ways rainfall and volcanic activity have shaped our region. Sustainability is the lens through which most of the exhibit displays approach the topic of soil. Highlighting how sand and soil are threatened, the exhibit explores alternatives for a more sustainable future for the planet.

Since its inception in 1970, the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology has served as a multifaceted educational facility. The Museum is deeply committed to outreach programming involving community collaboration and civic engagement. The museum’s diversity of outreach programs, include: K-12 school tours, the World Explorations lectures series, cultural and community events. To reserve a school tour or find out more about the calendar of programs this spring please contact the museum. The Museum is open Tuesday- Saturday 11-3 and is free of charge.
Email or call 530.898.5397 for more information.