This fall, the American Anthropological Association invites you to explore the science, history and lived experience of race and racism in the United States through its powerful, thought-provoking exhibition, “RACE: Are We So Different?” on view at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History from Saturday, September 27 through January 4, 2009.
The RACE exhibit uses historical artifacts, iconic objects, compelling photographs and multimedia presentations to examine how the idea of race was created, how race differs from human variation, and how race and racism shape our daily lives. In doing so, the exhibit shatters many popular misconceptions—from the notion of sickle cell anemia as an African-American disease to the idea that athletic ability is genetically determined and inextricably tied to race.
Anthropological research shows that race is about culture, not biology, yet the construct of race continues to play a real and meaningful role in our institutions and everyday lives. An exhibit section about everyday experiences explores race in schools, neighborhoods, health care systems, sports and entertainment industries.
“The RACE exhibit encourages visitors to understand race and racism as more than a black-and-white issue, but as an issue that affects each of us,” said Yolanda Moses, Co-Chair of the RACE Project Advisory Group. Planned RACE programming in Cleveland includes town hall meetings, a professional development workshop series, and various lectures addressing intersections of race with health, biology and politics among other topics.
Cleveland is the fifth stop for the RACE exhibit on its five-year traveling tour of 14 US cities. Over 1 million people have viewed the RACE exhibit and website since January 2007, and the exhibit is booked until the start of 2012.
RACE: Are We So Different? is part of a larger public education program developed over five years with $4 million in funding from the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the American Anthropological Association. The program includes the 5,000 square foot RACE exhibition, an interactive website, www.understandingRACE.org, and educational materials. RACE has received several national awards including the American Association of Museum’s Award of Excellence in Exhibition in 2008.
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, incorporated in 1920, is one of the finest institutions of its kind in North America. It is noted for its collections, research, educational programs and exhibits. The collections encompass more than 5 million artifacts and specimens, and research of global significance focuses on 11 natural science disciplines. The Museum is a valuable resource for scientists and students from kindergarten to university. Visit www.cmnh.org to learn more about the museum and its exhibits.