Get ready, Chocoholics: a new exhibition that explores every aspect of your favorite sweet treat is coming to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) this summer.
On June 17, the Museum will open the doors to “Chocolate: The Exhibition,” a traveling exhibit that engages the senses and traces the evolution of chocolate from a small, bitter seed found deep in the rainforest to the continent-spanning delicacy it is today.
"Many of us love chocolate, but few know the origins behind the candy,” said Gary Romero, interim executive director at NMMNHS. “’Chocolate: The Exhibition’ offers us a unique opportunity for visitors of all ages to learn about the history of chocolate and its impact on cultures all over the world.”
Visitors will be able to learn the biology behind cacao – the tropical seed that chocolate is derived from – while standing under a life-sized cacao tree. From there, they’ll have the opportunity to explore how cultures throughout human history have used cacao, viewing replicas of Mayan vessels that would have held a spicy beverage made from the seed, and bartering for seeds at an interactive Aztec marketplace. Museum-goers will follow cacao across the Atlantic, learning how a bit of sugar and the might of the Industrial Revolution helped transform it into the global commodity we know as chocolate.
During the nine-month run of the exhibition, visitors will see expert chocolatiers share their chocolate curiosities, explore the chemistry of chocolate, and cast chocolate fossils. The Museum is planning an extensive series of chocolate educational offerings. Look for adult nights, a stimulating chocolate lecture series, additional Family Days, in-exhibit demonstrations, hands-on classes, summer camp days, and more!
"Our museum team is exploring the wide world of chocolate including topics ranging from the history of chocolate to the use of chocolate as currency,” said Deb Novak, director of education at NMMNHS. “The programming will arouse our scientific senses by teaching about the different types of chocolate, how they have been used, and how historically chocolate was consumed as a drink before it was a bar."
“Chocolate: The Exhibition” and its national tour were developed by The Field Museum in Chicago. The Presenting Sponsor for the exhibition is Bank of Albuquerque and the Lead Sponsor is Albertson’s. Additional Sponsors include Thornburg Investment Management, Kirtland Federal Credit Union, and Cumulus Radio.