Museum Görlitz

Touring exhibition: The Thin Skin of Earth - Our Soils

 Soil is a hidden world under our feet...

... but if you look closer, soil is the habitat of an incredible diversity of organisms. Their activities are the basis for plants to grow and therefore for us to use soils. Soil is a valuable good and a limited resource and should be managed sustainably. Nevertheless every year Europe loses fertile soils of the size of Berlin caused by human activity.

The Senckenberg Museum of Natural History in Görlitz investigates the biodiversity of soils and the functioning of the soil organism communities in regards to the maintainance on the essential soil functions and nutrient cycles. On the occasion of the »International Year of Soils 2015«, proclaimed by the United Nations, Senckenberg illuminates in its new travelling exhibition aspects of soil, its organisms and the actual state of threats to soils. The exhibition also presents solutions for preserving »the thin skin of earth« and its ecosystem services.

This touring exhibition will be shown in many museums across Europe. Visitors become familiarized with the creatures hidden in the ground and discover the enormous benefit humans receive from them.

We offer you a modern exhibition with a flexible partition system in English. 3D-models, microscope pictures, hands-on exhibits, movies and multimedia units in high quality allow a closer view of our neighbours living in the soil.


Sections of the exhibition

The Visitor reduced to the size of an isopod is acquainted with the special zoology of soil organisms and various functions and properties of the soil such as recycling of organic matter.

Chamber of Crumbles - soil types, their structure and utilisation

  • What are the components of our soil and how is it made?
  • What different types of soil occur worldwide?
  • How did the relationship between humans and soil changes over the last 2000 years?

Chamber of Life - soil organisms and their biology

  • What are the habitats, properties and functions of various soil organisms?
  • How does the recycling-process under our feed proceed?
  • What benefits do soil animals bring us?

Chamber of Knowledge - soil biodiversity and research

  • How do we research the secret life under our feet?
  • Explanation of Edaphobase (soil animal data warehouse) and GBOL (German Barcoding of Life) in multimedia stations

Chamber of Horrors - threatened soils

  • What role do soils play for humans?
  • How do we use and abuse soils?
  • Why we should protect soils better?

Visionary path - light at the end of the tunnel

  • Which projects fpr protecting the soil already exist?
  • What can I do to save the soil?


Basic Information

  • Size up to 200 m² (actual version)
  • Languages: German, English (from 2018 other languages are available)
  • 83 partition walls (à 220 height x 100 cm width) for flexible arrangement
  • 7 3D-models in showcases
  • 5 movies (on 32’’ and 22’’ screens)
  • 3 animation (32’’ screen)
  • 1 database for the research of soil organisms (32’’ touchscreen)
  • 12 hands-on exhibit (soil profile, soil components for touching, olfactoric station, seeping mill etc.)

Dr. Axel Christian
Museum Manager
Telefon: +49 (0) 35 81 - 47 60 52 01

Download brochure "the Thin Skin of Earth - Our Soils" (65 MB, pdf)

Touring Dates:

07.09.2018 - 17.03.2019

Museum am Schölerberg Osnabrück

14. October 2015
Opening of the exhibition in the European Parliament, JAN Building, Brussel

24.11.2015 - 08.05.2016
Museum für Naturkunde Chemnitz

10.06.2016 - 08.01.2017
Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz

19.01. - 13.08.2017
Senckenberg Naturmuseum Frankfurt

06.09.2017 - 25.01.2018
Museum Koenig Bonn

(c) S. Tränkner

(c) S. Tränkner

(c) S. Tränkner


Fotos: Senckenberg


International Year of Soils 2015




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