1. Crop Care

Launch ceremony of the modernized Williams Soil-Agronomic Museum

Vipin Saini
Vipin Saini
Soil Museum
Williams Soil-Agronomic Museum

The Williams Soil-Agronomic Museum, established in 1934 in Moscow, is one of the largest soil museums of the world. The Museum is located at the Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy. The Museum exhibits the diversity of soil samples across the globe from the Arctic to tropical regions, agricultural use and preservation of the soil, geneses and anthropogenic soil changes. It has one of the richest collection of soil monoliths assembled throughout the 20th century, with about 900 monoliths displayed and 2,500 monoliths preserved in the storage room that provide a unique full-scale data and a knowledge base on soils. 

The collection of the museum started in 1888 by V.R. Williams and his students. They collected a great variety of valuable specimens: soil monoliths, samples of genetic horizons, rocks, herbarium. The museum was opened to the public in 1954. In the same year, the museum organized its first exhibit through an exposition that summarized not only the research data collected by Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, but also of many other leading agricultural institutions. It illustrates the evolution of the soil cover of specific regions of Russia, as well as the former USSR. At presents, the main scientific work is conducted in the space of soil science, genesis, classification of soils.

From the very beginning the Museum aimed not only to display the great variety of national soils, but also to reflect on the current scientific and applied problems of soil science and agriculture, as well as to promote scientific advancements in agriculture. Workshops have been regularly organized for students and agricultural specialists. 

In order to preserve the Museum's incredible heritage and help it move into the digital age, the FAO Global Soil Partnership, together with the FAO Liaison Office in Moscow and thanks to the financial support of the Russian Federation and PhosAgro, supported the Timiryazev Academy in the reorganization and digitization of the Museum's collections with the aim of making them accessible to a wider national and international audience. In the framework of the Eurasian Soil Partnership and with funding from the Russian Federation, FAO and the Timiryazev Academy signed a Letter of Agreement in July 2020 to define modernisation activities. 

Launch event 

On 20 May 2021, the official ceremony will launch the modernized museum. This one-day event will be held in presence in the museum while some speakers and participants will join the ceremony through an online platform (zoom). The ceremony will be opened by FAO Director General (tbc), Maksim Uvaydov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Victor Vasiliev, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to FAO and other Rome-based agencies, Vladimir Trukhachev – rector of the University and moderated by Oleg Kobiakov, Director of the Liaison Office with the Russian Federation.

This ceremony will also host the signature ceremony of the cost extension of the PhosAgro-funded project on sustainable soil management with FAO. 

The second segment of the day will include a physical tour in the museum followed by a scientific conference on the role and importance of soil museums worldwide. 

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