Cotton’s ubiquity in North Carolina may lead one to believe they know all there is to know about the native plant. But a new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences seeks to introduce attendees to cotton’s versatility and the many ways it facilitates high-tech textile performance and innovative design.

Opening Dec. 5 in the museum’s Nature Research Center, “Cotton = High Tech+High Design” features apparel, home furnishings, and textiles designed by students at the North Carolina State University Wilson College of Textiles. These pieces, created by the College’s Department of Textile Apparel, Technology and Management (TATM) students and juried into the event, highlight cotton’s properties and performance aspects and incorporate weaving, knitting, printing and dyeing techniques.

“Cotton = High Tech+High Design” opens Saturday, Dec. 5. and runs through Jan. 5, 2016. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 5, attendees can meet the student designers, attend related hands-on workshops, and hear from a guest speaker, Dr. Ericka Ford, assistant professor in Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science Department and The Nonwovens Institute at North Carolina State University. Ford’s presentation, “Soy Chemistry for Wrinkle-Free Cotton Clothing”, begins at 1 p.m. in the Daily Planet Theater and is part of the museum’s Science Saturday series. She will address how natural chemicals, like oil from soybeans, are an attractive alternative to current wrinkle-free technologies.

Those visiting the museum between now and the opening of “Cotton = High Tech+High Design” can check out additional work by Wilson College of Textiles students. Three large displays showcase the work of TATM’s “Visual Merchandising: Principles and Management” class. Students worked together with the support of museum staff to create visual stories of cotton, design and technology. The displays are located on the ground floor immediately to the left as you enter the Nature Research Center.

To round out the exhibit with another perspective on cotton, Dr. David Hinks, interim dean of the Wilson College of Textiles presents “Cotton, Color and the Courtroom” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, as part of the Museum’s Science Cafe series. Hinks will look at how cotton fibers can provide critical evidence when found at crime scenes.

Funding for the “Cotton = High Tech+High Design” Student Design Challenge was awarded in whole through a competitive grant presented to the NC State Wilson College of Textiles by the Importer Support Program (USP) of the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated. The underlying goal of this project is to increase awareness and understanding of cotton fiber.

About Cotton Incorporated

Cotton Incorporated is the research and marketing company for U.S. cotton growers and importers. Established in 1970 as a not-for-profit company, its mission is to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton. The company meets this mission by identifying efficiency and best practice opportunities along each link of the global cotton supply chain and through global marketing efforts aimed at consumer and trade audiences. Cotton Incorporated performs or oversees research and development of innovations in agricultural practices, fiber processing and analyses, textile chemistry, spinning, weaving, and fabric engineering; and provides in-depth crop, market and consumer marketing analyses to stakeholders.