Garden shed-like soil museum opts for an image makeover

The museum, initially set to open last summer in Dubai Academic City, has been delayed after officials decided to rework the original plan.
Provided illustration of the soil musuem planned for Dubai that is being developed by the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (Icba). Courtesy Icba
Provided illustration of the soil musuem planned for Dubai that is being developed by the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (Icba). Courtesy Icba

DUBAI // Plans to make the region’s first “soil museum” have been altered to make the attraction more appealing to the public.

The museum, initially set to open last summer in Dubai Academic City, has been delayed after officials decided to rework the original plan.

The museum will exhibit samples of the country’s soil, along with that soil’s geographic location and mineral composition, to better aid agricultural planners in choosing what foods to grow, and where.

The idea was that the museum would also be an attraction for students, as well as some members of the general public.

However, officials looked at the plans and decided there was an image problem.

“At the moment, it looks like an old shed,” said Dr Shabbir Shahid, a scientist at the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, which is developing the museum.

“So we wanted to make it properly, so it looks like a museum.”

The committee behind the museum is hoping to appoint an interior designer to improve the presentation of the exhibits and construction work is ongoing to ensure the museum is a more “permanent” building, Dr Shahid said, without offering further details.

The idea for the facility came about after recommendations were made by officials at the International Conference on Soil Classification and Reclamation of Degraded Lands in Arid Environments, held in Abu Dhabi in 2010.

A countrywide initiative by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi was launched to classify the type and quality of soil in the UAE. The findings were also compiled into an online map launched at the beginning of last year.

Dr Shahid said the project was being funded by ICBA, at an unspecified cost. In the long term, there were plans to seek outside funding.

“Later, we’re hoping it will be a national centre of soil information,” he said.

“Anyone who wants to know more about soil – professionals or students – can come and have all the information they need.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae

Published: February 6, 2014 04:00 AM

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