The new exhibit “RACE: Are We So Different?” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History begs a simple question to a complex answer: “Race – what do you see?”
The exhibit discusses three main factors: Science, by exploring human migration and debunking health myths tied to race; History, by analyzing slavery and anthropometrics; and Lived Experience, offering first-person stories on being defined by skin color.
The HAPA Project focues on how 17 individuals define themselves based on skin color alone, showing photos of their face and shoulders, while other photographs of people from different races are dotted throughout the space, with interactive segments.
“RACE” magnifies what individuals perceive about each other based on skin color.
One In one presentation, the “Youth on Race” video, a multicultural group of students discuss how race even determines where they sit in the cafeteria, and how they feel that have to over-compensate in order to disprove the stereotypes that they feel their peers hold against them.
Dr. Yolanda Moses, the lead curator of the exhibit, is seeking to shift the understanding of what people think they see when they look at each other – with a special focus on young adults. “This exchange is for students, high school, junior high students…because these are the young people who are asking questions about race that we haven’t given them answers for,” she says.
The traveling exhibit, a project of the American Anthropological Association, with the Science Museum of Minnesotra, opens June 18 and will be on view through Jan. 2, 2012. For more information, visit smm.org/race/