From sweeteners to plastics, to fuel and textiles, corn is present in most everyone’s life. The cornfields spanning America’s soil have a story to tell – one that dates back more than 10,000 years in the heart of Mexico. The Indiana State Museum’s exhibit, “Amazing Maize: The Science, History and Culture of Corn,” tells the story about corn with help from Case IH and other industry sponsors.
“Many producers use Case IH equipment to plant, fertilize and harvest this versatile and important crop,” says Scott Rasch, Public Relations Manager for Case IH North America. “The ‘Amazing Maize’ exhibit provides a unique way for Indiana State Museum visitors to catch a glimpse into the vital role that producers play in corn production.”
Now open in Indianapolis, Ind., “Amazing Maize” visitors can experience the latest in corn harvesting technology from the seat of a Case IH combine simulator. This simulator allows visitors of all ages to experience what it’s like from the seat of a combine when a farmer is harvesting a field of corn. Visitors can steer the wheel of the simulated combine, or direct the combine’s functions with the MultiControl Armrest, complete with an AFS Pro 600 display unit, which is used to show yield and moisture readings and GPS positioning.
The exhibit includes a variety of interactive features, including a seven-foot high display of corn-based products, including M&Ms candies, packing peanuts, cereal and more. Other displays explain corn’s role in the origins of agricultural education and the discovery of vitamins, how the corn plant’s genome has evolved over thousands of years and how scientists develop new corn traits.
“We are thrilled to have Case IH as a sponsor for this exhibit,” said Tom King, President and CEO of the Indiana State Museum. “Without their contributions, this exhibit wouldn’t be possible.”
Divided into six sections, “Amazing Maize” follows a 10,000-year genetic journey showing the evolution of the corn plant, starting with the ancient Mesoamericans domesticating a teosinte plant and selecting it for specific traits. One interactive feature shows visitors how domestication took place over the years, with a video from geneticist Dr. John Doebley, who first positively identified teosinte as the ancestor of today’s corn plant.
Another section of the exhibit highlights hand-powered farm tools, stone and wooden corn grinders and examples of dozens of corn species. The journey continues to just prior to World War II, when scientists began crossbreeding higher-yielding corn varieties and when mechanized tools, such as Case IH tractors and combines, were introduced to American farms.
Museum visitors can try their hand at using a wooden corn pounder to grind corn into flour or meal, just as many Native American tribes did. A lighted map illuminates corn’s migration path from the Americas to the rest of the world. The exhibit features a replica of a high-tech greenhouse where scientists can test corn plants’ response to various growing conditions, diseases and pests.
The “Amazing Maize” exhibit will run through January 2013. Learn more by visiting http://indianamuseum.org/visit/exhibit/exhibitview.asp?exhibitid=41.