Friday, October 26, 2012

MAIZE EXHIBIT to Begin November 6th

Maize: Mysteries of an Ancient Grain Exhibition Opens November 6th for the Public; SRAC Members are invited to our private unveiling on Monday, November 5th at 7pm!

What is maize? Why is it important? How has it changed? 

If you are an SRAC member, you are cordially invited to the unveiling of  Maize: Mysteries of an Ancient Grain exhibit! If you attended the African Exhibit unveiling party last year - you know that this event is a really special time for us to celebrate our friendships and our new exhibit with great food lots of fun! Please call SRAC at (607)565-7960 or email to RSVP!

WAVERLY, NY (10/27/2012) – The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) announces the opening of Maize: Mysteries of an Ancient Grain. Maize is the largest production crop in the world and plays a central role in all of United States agriculture and food production. Explore the science of maize, one of the most significant crops to humankind for thousands of years, and why it continues to surprise us today.

This ancient grain was among the many organisms that evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin examined. In his travels to South America, Darwin recognized the tremendous variation in maize and its long history of intentional breeding. In regards to domestication, Darwin stated, “Although man does not cause variability and cannot even prevent it, he can select, preserve, and accumulate the variations given to him by the hand of nature almost in any way which he chooses; and thus he can certainly produce a great result” (from The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Charles Darwin, 1868).

The exhibition explores how scientists utilize the process of evolution to encourage the selection of “functional” and useful mutations for increased disease resistance, healthier and larger plants, and maintained diversity. The natural diversity within a species can provide a plant with a buffer against changes in its environment, providing the plant with the flexibility to adapt. Scientists are using conventional and molecular plant breeding to combat world health issues, such as Vitamin A Deficiency, a major health problem for millions of people in the developing world. In extreme situations, for example drought or disease epidemics, diversity can be essential for the survival of the population.

Learn about fascinating advances in the science of plant genetics, the history, the process, and the controversies. Don't miss this opportunity to explore evolution in action through history and science in Maize: Mysteries of an Ancient Grain. Funding for this exhibition is from the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program DBI-0820619.

This exhibition is developed and managed by the Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth located in Ithaca, New York. At the Museum of Earth, you can explore the Earth’s past and understand your role in its present and future through a unique mix of natural history displays, interactive science features, and art exhibitions. Touch and feel history through hands-on exploration of fossils and dinosaurs at Discovery Labs. View more than 650 specimens from PRI’s world-class collections, including the skeletons of the Hyde Park Mastodon and Right Whale No. 2030.  Enjoy the 500-foot art mural, Rock of Ages, Sands of Time. PRI is affiliated with Cornell University.

SRAC's Deb Twigg commented, "This specific exhibit was also at the "Corn Palace" in Iowa recently an is a huge accomplishment to be able to get it here in Waverly, NY for a few months, so don't miss your chance to experience it. In addition to the exhibit that will fill our huge lecture hall area, SRAC will also provide a station for visitors of all ages to use actual mortars and pestles to experience grinding corn in the way that the ancient people of our region did."

The exhibition opens at SRAC at 345 Broad Street, Waverly, NY on Tuesday, November 6th, with a private unveiling event for members the night before, and runs until January 26th.  The SRAC exhibit hall filled with thousands of local Native American artifacts is also open along with the Maize exhibit and tours will be available for both areas. General admission donations are accepted for the general public of $3 per adult and $2 per senior.  All school tours, kids under 18 and SRAC members get free admission to SRAC every day. (School tours should be scheduled with the Center beforehand.) For more information visit or call the Center at (607)565-7960.

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