July 30, 2011 - November 6, 2011
The exhibit includes more than a hundred
artifacts, along with videos, interactive displays, recreated scenes and
more. Visitors will follow along as Carver’s curiosity and persistence
take him from a remote frontier town to success as a teacher and
researcher at the famed Tuskegee Institute.
What makes a man a legend? In the case of George Washington Carver it wasn’t just peanuts. Visitors to the George Washington Carver
exhibit will learn about the life and work of an extraordinary man,
born into slavery, who used his gifts to become a groundbreaking
scientist, educator and humanitarian with a lifelong mission: to bring
practical knowledge to those in need.
truth about Carver is much more interesting than the myths. He was a
man with a fascinating life story and an unquenchable thirst for
knowledge, who overcame tremendous odds to become one of America’s most
versatile scientists. He was a trail-blazing proponent of
sustainability, who believed that “nature produces not waste” and
neither should man. He was a humanitarian whose primary goal was, as he
put it, “to help the farmer and fill the poor man’s empty dinner pail.”
was driven by the needs he saw around him,” says Michael Dillon, chair
of the Botany Department at The Field Museum and one of the curators on
the Carver exhibition. “His research was very goal oriented.”
of the ideas that Carver seized upon was crop rotation. Carver
understood that cotton depleted the soil of nitrogen that plants need in
order to grow. He knew that legumes, such as peanuts and peas had a
symbiotic relationship with bacteria that could take inert molecules
from the atmosphere and convert them into a form that plants can use.
was a desire to make these alternative crops more useful to farmers and
others that led to Carver’s famous work with peanuts, black-eyed peas,
and sweet potatoes. He found hundreds of uses for them including
laundry soap, linoleum, wallboard, rubber and cheese.
most important gift Carver gave to people wasn’t any particular
product,” Michael Dillon says. “It was the gift of self-worth.” Carver
crossed racial and class boundaries. He gave of himself so that others
could become educated, self-sufficient, and proud. He followed his own
vision to improve the lives of others.
exhibition is organized by The Field Museum in collaboration with
Tuskegee University and the National Park Service.
Sponsored by The
Durham Society, Douglas County Commissioners, Northern Natural Gas,
MidAmerican Energy Company, CBSHOME Real Estate, Dr. C.C. and Mabel L.
Criss Memorial Foundation, Monsanto Fund, Lincoln Financial
Foundation, U.S. Bank, AGP, and the Steven H. Durham Family Foundation.
Additional support provided by Thomas and Aileen Warren.
For more information about this exhibit, visit http://archive.fieldmuseum.org/carver/
Click here to download a George Washington Carver Educator's Guide.