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Science Museum Exhibition Explores Role of Race in Society

"RACE: Are We So Different?", which will run at the museum through April 29, features separate interactive exhibits on human perceptions of race and how they compare to scientific understanding.

Zack Budryk | April 3, 2012

“RACE: Are We So Different?” Photo Credit: Science Museum of Virginia.


A new exhibition at the Science Museum of Virginia will explore human perceptions of race and how they compare to scientific understanding.

“RACE: Are We So Different?”, which will run at the museum through April 29, features separate interactive exhibits on several different subtopics. According to the Science Museum, the exhibition is meant to discuss three overarching themes: the science of human variation, the history of our society’s idea of race, and the practical, contemporary experience of race and racism in the United States.

In addition to the interactive gallery exhibits, two mini-theaters will feature the films “Race is an Idea,” a five-minute film by the American Anthropological Association, and “Living with Race,” which will explore individual experiences of racial minorities in America.

“This is an important subject that touched us all, regardless of who we are,” said Science Museum of Virginia Chief Wonder Officer Richard C. Conti. “The RACE exhibition is just one element in a variety of experiences that brings new ways of looking at the variations of humanity through the framework of science.”

In addition to the RACE exhibition, the museum will offer several companion exhibitions, including:

  • “35 Blocks,” a 750-foot collection of artifacts and artwork which will recreate the racial experience in Richmond
  • “Family Portraits: Virginia Indians at the Turn of the 20th Century,” which will feature various reproduction photographs such as family portraits, school pictures, and tribal gatherings on loan from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
  • “Through the Generations, African-American Art in the VMFA Collection”
  • “Celebrating Cultural Heritage: Painting by Virginia Artists”
  • “What Do You Stand For,” a series of 25 self-portraits by Richmond Art 180 middle school students that illustrate their beliefs and values

Access to RACE is included with admission to the Science Museum of Virginia, which is $10 for children ages 4-12 and adults 60+, $11 for ages 13-59, and free for members.