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Amsterdam Has a Museum for Microbes

Micropia is devoted to the world of the unseen

(David Scharf/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

They’re everywhere — microscopic organisms that even make up a majority of the human body. Now, The Atlantic’s Ed Yong reports on an Amsterdam museum that celebrates the humble microbe: Micropia, a place he calls “a shrine to the super-small.”

Micropia’s tagline is “discover the invisible life,” and Yong writes that the usually unseeable is on full display at the museum, which is the world’s first dedicated to microbes. Yong reports that over 10 million Euros were invested in the Amsterdam facility, which features a huge tree of life that highlights the role of microscopic creatures, lets people play around with human-sized avatars that illustrate how many microbes are part of the average Joe, and even shows people how many microbes they exchange when they kiss. 

Atlas Obscura points out that the “zoo of tiny things” is more than just a place for display: In fact, Micropia is home to an on-site microbiology lab. Rather than docents, the museum features real-life lab techs, says AO, on hand to add context and answer questions. 

Or perhaps you’d prefer to spend your traveling time on the world’s largest organisms instead? In that case, head to Queensland, Australia. The reefHQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium isn’t just the largest living coral reef aquarium of its kind: It’s also devoted to Earth’s biggest living organism, a 1,600 mile-long reef that’s home to hundreds of thousands of other animals too. 

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