Life Underground: Foundations of the Biosphere

September 15th, 1996 - February 29th, 2000 | PROJECT

The Field Museum will develop a 10,000 sq. ft. exhibit "Life Underground: Foundations of the Biosphere." This exhibit will introduce visitors to underground ecosystems and the importance of soil upon which we all depend. Visitors will be invited to explore the diversity of underground organisms and the vital processes in which they participate. It will consists of three main parts: 1) Underground Expedition, where things will be enlarged 100 times life-size; 2) Changes Over Time, which will highlight the dynamic nature of soil communities and forces of change, and 3) a World Tour, which will compare soil communities from a variety of ecosystems including forests, grasslands, deserts, tundra, among others. The exhibit utilizes ideas and research from all four of the museum's academic disciplines -- botany, zoology, geology and anthropology and will incorporate hundreds of specimens from the museum's botany, mycology, and zoology collections to illustrate the diversity of organisms in and around the soil. Complementary educational programming will be developed and the project is especially targeting rural and inner city residents. School and community programs will extend the exhibit into classrooms, vacant lots, and community centers. The materials developed for use in a formal education setting will be integrated with current objectives of the existing curricula. In addition, on-line access to the content of the exhibit and complementary educational materials will be provided. The scheduled opening date for the exhibit is May, 1998 and during the ten year projected life span of the exhibit and complementary programming, it is expected that more than eight million people will be introduced to "Life Underground."

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Underground Adventure

Team Members

M. Frances Muraski-Stotz, Principal Investigator, Field Museum of Natural History
Gregory Mueller, Co-Principal Investigator, Field Museum of Natural History
Debra Moskovits, Co-Principal Investigator, Field Museum of Natural History


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9627007
Funding Amount: 1583771


Access and Inclusion: Rural | Urban
Audience: General Public
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Geoscience and geography | Life science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits