The Secret Life of Earth

Oct. 5, 2019 – Sep. 5, 2021
Zanvyl A. Krieger Main Building

Admission grants entry to the museum and all exhibitions except "A Visionary Spirit for Invention," which is not open to the public.

Image Gallery


About the Exhibition

The American Visionary Art Museum‘s (AVAM) 25th original and timely thematic mega-exhibition, "THE SECRET LIFE OF EARTH: Alive! Awake! (and possibly really Angry!)" on view October 5, 2019 and into 2021, beckons all Earthlings — from climate change skeptics to the world's leading eco-scientists and green youth planet-activists — entry into an exhibition that's one part visual earth love-fest, and two parts environmental crash course on the wonders and interdependent fragility of life on our one, blue, homegirl planet.

The global celebration of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary in April 2020, coincides with the long run of AVAM’s "SECRET LIFE OF EARTH" mega-exhibition and culminates in AVAM’s 25th anniversary year. With the assist of a stellar assembly of top global earth science researchers and indigenous devoted land stewards, this lively Earth-centric exhibition aims to present in clear and plain language, the rapidly changing state of our earth, while providing insight into the disruption of the delicate balances which permit all life to flourish: plant, animal, and we humans.

It is very hard to value, let alone cherish, anything without first really understanding and respecting its preciousness. AVAM’s "EARTH" show aims to inspire a deeper love and protectiveness of our planet through carving a personal path of amazement and appreciation for our visitors — nourishment that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. The exhibition is peppered with fascinating, little-known nature facts, humor, and findings that help illustrate an invisible, interdependent, harmony for which we are wholly dependent. W.B. Yeats concluded, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

Understanding the difference between climate and weather will be made crystal clear, as well as how our individual behavior — even what we eat — makes a difference. Jane Goodall concluded, “Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?”

Visitors will also be treated to the good news of truly hopeful solutions, like that offered by visionary innovator Scott Brown, who now has a working prototype to take even the most toxic waste and reduce it to its molecular components, all with zero off-gassing — and the added bonus of generating electricity. The good news is that much positive change is afoot despite appearances to the contrary.

As Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate,” observed of our deteriorating earth wellbeing: “It's a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message spoken in the language of fires, droughts, and extinctions - telling us we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet."

We hope our EARTH exhibition will inspire and inform our earthling visitors of all ages with the wise message echoed by famed tree activist, Julia Butterfly Hill, “Why is everything good for our bodies, our communities, our world, and our planet called, ‘the alternative’? That means that everything bad for us is the accepted norm.” AVAM aims to help change that!

our generous sponsors

Mighty Oak
Lew Diuguid • Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts • Lois Feinblatt • United Therapeutics • Whiting Turner

Soaring Elm
Anonymous • Bloomberg Philanthropies • Tom & Sandy Hess • Satchi Royers & William White

Glorious Dogwood
Mary Catherine Bunting • Stuart Cooper & Rebecca Besson • Norman & Doris Fisher Fund • Philip & Harriet Klein Foundation • John J. Leidy Foundation, Inc. • Thomas & Linda McCabe • Robert Meyerhoff & Rheda Becker • Patz Climate Justice Fund • Holly Sadeghian John Sondheim & Emily Greenberg • Karen Whaley • Jean Wyman

Charming Redbud
Emile Bendit & Diane Abeloff • Betty Cooke • Barbara & Louis Denrich • JoAnn & Jack Fruchtman • Goldsmith Family Foundation, Inc.

Marybeth Brohawn • John & Berthe Ford • Maryellyn Lynott • John Joseph Shields

Public Support
The Citizens of Baltimore County & the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences • Baltimore City Office of the Mayor and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts • The Howard County Government & the Howard County Arts Council • Maryland State Arts Council • Maryland State Department of Education

Currently on view

The Secret Life of Earth
Oct. 5, 2019 – Sep. 5, 2021

The Secret Life of Earth

The Science and Mystery of Sleep
Oct. 10, 2020 - Fall 2022

The Science and Mystery of Sleep

Esther and the Dream of One Loving Human Family
Feb. 23, 2019 - Mar. 3, 2024

Esther and the Dream of One Loving Human Family

A Visionary Spirit for Invention
Nov. 23, 2020 - May 23, 2022

A Visionary Spirit for Invention

American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM)

800 Key Highway

Baltimore, MD 21230


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn