Case IH and Corn-y Museum Exhibit
May 13, 2012
Through the rest of the year, visitors to the Indiana State Museum can harvest corn in the Case IH combine simulator. One of the highlights of “Amazing Maze” visitors can also take advantage of a variety of interactive features, including a seven-foot high display of corn-based products, including M&Ms candies, packing peanuts, cereal and more.
The Case IH 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.
Other displays explain how the corn plant’s genome has evolved over thousands of years and how scientists develop new corn traits. 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. The Indiana State Museum is located in White River State Park in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. For more information, call 317.232.1637 or visit indianamuseum.org