by KELLIE ABRAHAMSON
Every person is unique, a one-of-a-kind combination of their ancestry, personal experiences and culture. The Museum of Science and History’s newest exhibit, “RACE: Are We So Different?,” examines the topic of race from scientific, historical and cultural perspectives, giving guests new insight into how we think about the differences and similarities among people.
Developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, “RACE” is the first nationally traveling exhibition of its kind. The exhibit is made up of three main themes: the everyday experience of race and racism, the science of human variation, and the history of how race evolved in the United States. Each topic is explored through interactive displays, historical artifacts, compelling photos and multimedia presentations. The exhibit also has several feedback stations scattered amongst the displays, giving guests a chance to share their own experiences and read responses from other visitors.
Truthfully, my children (ages 10, 8 and 22 months) are a bit young for the “RACE” exhibit, but the older kids did seem to gain some new insight as a result of our recent visit. My son, for instance, never considered that the use of American Indians as sports mascots may be offensive or demeaning, and my daughter found the Science of Skin display fascinating, going back time and again to examine her own skin under the microscope. The baby, too, was not left out of the fun, thoroughly entertained by the puppets and books located near the center of the exhibit in the Resource Center. The more “wordy” displays were often passed over by my children in favor of those that had a more interactive element. The Independence of Traits Game, for instance, was a huge hit with my kids. The display asks guests to guess who, among a bank of photos, possesses the same blood type, fingerprint patterns and height. A series of buttons light up the photos to indicate which people share those traits, shattering common conceptions about race types. The kids also enjoyed the feedback stations, stopping each time they encountered one to share their opinions and experiences.
“RACE: Are We So Different?” will be on display at MOSH through April 28th. The museum is open Monday through Thursday from 10 am-5 pm, Fridays from 10 am-8 pm, Saturdays from 10 am-6 pm, and Sundays from noon-5 pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children (ages 3-12), seniors and active military. For more information, visit www.themosh.org or call 396-MOSH.
RACE: Are We So Different?
by KELLIE ABRAHAMSON