RACE: Are We So Different?

RACE: Are We So Different? explores the myth and meaning of race. We all know that people look different. Throughout history, those differences have been a source of strength, community, and personal identity. They have also been the basis for discrimination and oppression. And while those differences are socially and culturally real, modern scientific understanding tells us race and human variation are complex, and challenges us to think in new ways. This exhibit, developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, combines media resources, interactive components, imagery, and community programming to invite visitors into a conversation about the reality—and unreality—of race.

RACE: Are We So Different? was a winner of the Excellence in Exhibition Competition at the 2008 meeting of the American Association of Museums and the recipient of the 2008 Transforming Museums Award.

Visit the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit website.

BACK TO PROJECT HISTORY

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Photographs by Wing Young Huie
Photographs by Wing Young Huie
Wing Young Huie's remarkable photographs are found throughout the exhibit. His work captures the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic communities of his home state and across the United States.

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Shifting Categories
Shifting Categories
A large photograph of college students tells the story of Shifting Categories. Each student wears a t-shirt imprinted with three Census years and the racial categories they would have been assigned in that year.

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Student Lockers
Student Lockers
Nearby, in the Student Lockers display, four students use their own words, pictures, and objects to express their relationship to race, identity, ethnicity, each other, and the world in which they live.

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Youth on Race
Youth on Race
A high school cafeteria provides the backdrop for the "Youth on Race" video. This video gives visitors a glimpse inside the world of one set of young people.

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Piles of cash
Piles of cash
Piles of cash concretely represent the vast wealth disparities between whites and other ethnoracial groups, while text and photos reveal the story of how those disparities come to be.

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Row House
Row House
Here, visitors encounter a row house as a setting for stories about housing practices, land ownership, and wealth.

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The Hapa Project
The Hapa Project
Artist Kip Fullbeck's "Hapa Project" explores the issue of racial categories through photographs and self-descriptions by people who identify themselves as multiracial.

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The Science of Skin
The Science of Skin
At the Science of Skin, visitors use a microscope to view their skin close-up and explore the evolutionary story of skin color variation. Here, they discover that race is not found in our skin.

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African Origins
African Origins
Facing the map area, African Origins highlights current scientific understanding about human origins. This animated interactive illustrates how humans spread from Africa to populate the world.

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Inventing Whiteness
Inventing Whiteness
The last station, Inventing Whiteness, considers "white" as a racial category. Stories and images from the past 200 years show how "whiteness" was protected, privileged, and made to seem normal over many years.

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Separate and Unequal
Separate and Unequal
Separate and Unequal traces the history of inequality and privilege in the United States.

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Human (Mis)measure
Human (Mis)measure
The second station, Human (Mis)measure, focuses on the pursuit of "race science" in the 19th and 20th centuries, which often legitimized racial and ethnic inequalities.

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Creating Race
Creating Race
Slave shackles from the early 1800s provide a visceral reminder of the connection between race and the vast inequalities found in 19th-century America.
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