Indiana State Museum: Center for Science and Culture; through Jan. 20.
Amazing Maize delivers a WOW experience from the entryway's eye-popping 7-foot tall sculpture of corn products on through six sections taking us across 10,000 years of evolution from wild plant in Mesoamerica to today's genetically modified fields.
You can walk through and get the high points, or you can allow yourself to become thoroughly engaged with interactives, including some of the 4,200 corn-based products currently available, American Indian tribal relationships with corn featuring a larger-than-life replica of the Mayan corn god, scientific findings and technological advancements highlighted by a chance to climb aboard a tractor and manage thousands of acres of corn fields.
Built to feel like you're on a farm, there's a delightful brightness in the delivery of information that makes you feel like you're in a conversation. We start with "did you know it takes 25 corn plants per person per day to support the American way of life - from sweeteners to plastics, fuels to textiles, [M&Ms to baby powder], corn is a part of every life for nearly all of us."
Journeying through 5,000 square feet of space we find out why and how corn has remained the mainstay of human and animal life from its isolated beginnings in the heart of Mexico to its current penetrating appearance worldwide and out into space.
Amazement lurks around every corner - try pounding corn into meal the old way, meet up with a razorback hog and figure out why corn whiskey was an easier way to ship corn down the Ohio River. Make connections between moonshine and the Indy 500; corn, overpopulation and African slave trade; and corn and the discovery of vitamins. My ideal visit is to spend a day, with a lunch break at the Ayer's dining room savoring their corn-ingredient foods.