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Photos: Taymaz Valley/Apt613

Exhibition: Me and My Microbes: the Zoo Inside You at the Museum of Nature—until 03.29.20

By Taymaz Valley on January 13, 2020

There is an exciting exhibition of microbes afoot (pun intended) at the Canadian Museum of Nature running until March 29th, 2020. This exhibition explores the trillion of tiny organisms that live on and inside of us, helping us with everything from digestion to being in a better mood. These little helpers keep us balanced and healthy, unless we start to mistreat them through bad diets or excessive use of chemicals and medications.

This exhibition explores the trillion of tiny organisms that live on and inside of us, helping us with everything from digestion to being in a better mood.

No doubt you have heard of probiotic yogurts and drinks being advertised everywhere you look. I’m sure you are aware by now that we have microbes living inside our guts, some good and some bad, but the story does not end there. Being divided into bacteria, viruses and fungi, microbes are responsible for our odour, healthy teeth and why we might be fat or thin. They are the reason why your partner finds you beguiling… and here you were thinking it was your Scrabble skills.

“Disruptions in our microbiome can lead directly to disease. Our world-class researchers are dedicated to finding new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat these illnesses” says Dr. André Buret from University of Calgary, home to the International Microbiome Centre which is collaborating with Canadian Museum of Nature for this exhibition. Indeed, this exhibition employs a variety of different educational tools to teach us about our microbiome and what the microbes do for our physical and mental health, including a 4 metre long interactive human projection.

Anxiety and depression are amongst a number of different mental health issues that research has found can find their roots and ultimate solution in microbes, especially those that interact with our diets. The link between obesity and dangerous over usage of antibiotics in countries has also been highlighted through scientific research. The danger of overusing antibiotics does not end there: with the threats of antibiotic resistant superbugs looming over the horizon, it is an exceedingly good idea to get a better understanding of microbes and how we should view and threat them.

“We believe in the potential of microbiome research to find powerful new approaches that will lead to an improvement in the health and well-being of Canadians” says Mark Mitchell, Chair of the Weston Family Microbiome Initiative which is supporting the exhibition as Presenting Partner. It is absolutely right that Canadians should be aware of ways to improve their lives and health with better scientific treatment of microbes on and inside our bodies.

The Canadian Museum of Nature in partnership with the University of Calgary’s International Microbiome Centre has three special “gut talks” planed for which registration is required:

  • January 16: Our lifestyles, our microbes: The hidden connection with Dr. Kathy McCoy
  • February 6: Diet and prebiotics: Happy gut, happy life with Dr. Raylene Reimer
  • March 16: Let them eat dirt: Childhood and the microbiome with Dr. Marie Claire Arrieta, (includes screening of the documentary, Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World)

Me & My Microbes: The Zoo Inside You is on now and runs until March 29th, 2020 at the Canadian Museum of Nature (240 MacLeod Street). Admission to the exhibition costs $6, plus museum admission.