Releases | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Sweet new exhibit “Chocolate” opens in June at NM Museum of Natural History & Science

May 4th, 2022

Albuquerque, NM - Get ready, Chocoholics: a new exhibition that explores every aspect of your favorite sweet treat is coming to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) this summer. 

On June 17, the Museum will open the doors to “Chocolate: The Exhibition,” a traveling exhibit that engages the senses and traces the evolution of chocolate from a small, bitter seed found deep in the rainforest to the continent-spanning delicacy it is today. The Museum is planning to host a Family Day event, featuring all-ages activities, community presenters, and much more, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 18. Family Days are included in the cost of Museum admission. 

"Many of us love chocolate, but few know the origins behind the candy,” said Gary Romero, interim executive director at NMMNHS. “’Chocolate: The Exhibition’ offers us a unique opportunity for visitors of all ages to learn about the history of chocolate and its impact on cultures all over the world.” 

Visitors will be able to learn the biology behind cacao – the tropical seed that chocolate is derived from – while standing under a life-sized cacao tree. From there, they’ll have the opportunity to explore how cultures throughout human history have used cacao, viewing replicas of Mayan vessels that would have held a spicy beverage made from the seed, and bartering for seeds at an interactive Aztec marketplace. Museum-goers will follow cacao across the Atlantic, learning how a bit of sugar and the might of the Industrial Revolution helped transform it into the global commodity we know as chocolate. 

During the nine-month run of the exhibition, visitors will see expert chocolatiers share their chocolate curiosities, explore the chemistry of chocolate, and cast chocolate fossils. The Museum is planning an extensive series of chocolate educational offerings. Look for adult nights, a stimulating chocolate lecture series, additional Family Days, in-exhibit demonstrations, hands-on classes, summer camp days, and more! 

"Our museum team is exploring the wide world of chocolate including topics ranging from the history of chocolate to the use of chocolate as currency,” said Deb Novak, director of education at NMMNHS. “The programming will arouse our scientific senses by teaching about the different types of chocolate, how they have been used, and how historically chocolate was consumed as a drink before it was a bar." 

For information about tickets, pricing, upcoming events and more, visit  

“Chocolate: The Exhibition” and its national tour were developed by The Field Museum in Chicago. The Presenting Sponsor for the exhibition is Bank of Albuquerque and the Lead Sponsor is Albertson’s. Additional Sponsors include Thornburg Investment Management, Kirtland Federal Credit Union, and Cumulus Radio.  

About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation, through the generous support of donors. Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs, and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience, and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D Verus Research DynaTheater.  

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Chocolate Installation photo

A exhibit from "Chocolate: The Exhibition" from The Field Museum

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