A review of the world's soil museums and exhibitions

Anne C. Richer-de-Forges*, David J. Lowe, Budiman Minasny, Paola Adamo, Mariana Amato, Marcos B. Ceddia, Lucia H.C. dos Anjos, Scott X. Chang, Songchao Chen, Zueng Sang Chen, Christian Feller, Eduardo García-Rodeja, Renée Claude Goulet, Zeng Yei Hseu, Aldis Karklins, Hyuck Soo Kim, Johan G.B. Leenaars, Maxine J. Levin, Xiao Nan Liu, Yuji MaejimaStephan Mantel, Francisco J. Martín Peinado, Francisco J. Martínez Garzón, Jorge Mataix-Solera, Oļģerts Nikodemus, Carole Ortega, Irene Ortiz-Bernad, Fabrício A. Pedron, Erika Flávia M. Pinheiro, Endla Reintam, Pierre Roudier, Andrei B. Rozanov, Jorge Alberto Sánchez Espinosa, Igor Savin, Mai Shalaby, Mangalappilly P. Sujatha, Yiyi Sulaeman, Ruhollah Taghizadeh-Mehrjardi, Tien M. Tran, María Y. Valle, Jae E. Yang, D. Arrouays

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The soil science community needs to communicate about soils and the use of soil information to various audiences, especially to the general public and public authorities. In this global review article, we synthesis information pertaining to museums solely dedicated to soils or which contain a permanent exhibition on soils. We identified 38 soil museums specifically dedicated to soils, 34 permanent soil exhibitions, and 32 collections about soils that are accessible by appointment. We evaluate the growth of the number of museums since the early 1900s, their geographical distribution, their contents, and their attendance. The number of museums has been continuously growing since the early 1900s. A noticeable increase was observed from 2015 to 2019. Europe (in a geographical sense), Eastern and South-East Asia have the highest concentration of soil museums and permanent exhibitions related to soils. Most of the museums' attendance ranged from 1000 to 10,000 visitors per year. Russia has the largest number of soil monoliths exhibited across the world's museums, whereas the ISRIC-World Soil Museum has the richest and the most diverse collection of soil monoliths. Museums, collections, and exhibitions of soil play an important role in educating the population about this finite natural resource that maintains life on the planet, and for this reason, they must be increasingly supported, extended, and protected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-304
JournalAdvances in Agronomy
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • Connectivity
  • Museums
  • Soil
  • Soil education
  • Soil monolith
  • Soil security
  • Visitation


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