Let's Talk About RACE: Are We So Different?

Contact: Katelyn Del Buco
Pacific Science Center, Seattle
(206) 269-5728, kdelbuco@pacsci.org

New Exhibit Explores Biology, History and Culture of Race – Open Sep. 28
Trained Community Facilitators to Inspire Candid Conversations
About Race & Social Justice

SEATTLE, WA (July 18, 2013) – Consider this about diversity in the United States: We are so diverse that the Census Bureau projects the number of children of color will surpass 50 percent within five years. Our region has some of the most diverse cities and school districts in the nation – a source of pride as well as challenge. RACE: Are We So Different?, an unprecedented exhibition opening at Pacific Science Center September 28, 2013 – January 5, 2014, is an ideal opportunity to learn about and discuss the similarities that unite us and the different perceptions that can divide us.

Throughout history, perceived differences between peoples have been a source of community strength and personal identity as well as the basis for discrimination, oppression and even genocide. Outdated “science” was used to spread misinformation about the concept of race. Now, contemporary scientific understanding of human variation has challenged racial differences and even questions the very concept of race as biology.

As a proud Seattle institution and a trusted community resource, “Pacific Science Center is an ideal place for pragmatic conversations about race and Seattle’s rich cultural diversity, all through the lens of science,” said Pacific Science Center President and CEO Bryce Seidl.

Using interactive maps, historical artifacts, computer simulations of gene flows, compelling photographs, multimedia presentations and a team of trained community facilitators, RACE: Are We So Different? challenges how we think about race and human variation and reveals the reality—and unreality—of race. The exhibit explores:

• The Science of Human Variation – A contemporary synthesis of genetics, biology and anthropology. Scan your skin, explore our common human ancestry, learn about the continuum of human variation, question common notions of race as discrete biological groups and investigate the past and current science behind human variation. Use an animated interactive map to explore the geographic spread of genetic diversity over time.

• The History of the Idea of Race – A look at beliefs, social practices and flawed science that were folded into law and developed into a system that justified slavery, the near elimination of Native American peoples and their culture, as well as inequitable treatment of Asians, Latinos and other communities. Through historical vignettes, RACE will explore how this belief system has shaped our country’s history and society.

• Race in Contemporary Life – Although the concept of race is biologically questionable, in the United States, race and racism are an everyday reality. RACE explores social and personal experiences of race in schools, doctor’s offices, the legal system and marketplaces. The exhibit probes how race impacts every social institution in our lives—and how these social settings frame our personal experience of race. CSI fans hear from a forensic anthropologist about the pitfalls of using racial identification in detective work. The Hapa Project explores the world of people who describe themselves as multiracial.

RACE: Are We So Different? was developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association. Since 2007, RACE has sparked conversation and contemplation in more than 25 cities all across the United States. In Seattle, Pacific Science Center is collaborating with the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative to make the RACE exhibit accessible and to broaden the conversation. Volunteer facilitators from the community will be trained to lead pre- and post-exhibit workshops, for groups of all kinds and sizes, about the everyday experience of living with race and opportunities to eliminate racial inequities.

These workshops will take place in corporate offices, neighborhood schools, community centers, libraries, living rooms, and places of worship, as well as at Pacific Science Center. Learn more about free facilitator trainings and group workshops at www.seattle.gov/rsji. If you are concerned your pre- and post-exhibit workshop group cannot cover the cost of admission, please contact Diana Falchuk at the Race and Social Justice Initiative, to discuss ways to make your group’s participation possible: diana.falchuk@seattle.gov or (206) 684-5282.

Entry to RACE: Are We So Different? is included with the price of general admission, FREE for Pacific Science Center members. Admission to Pacific Science Center is $18 for adults; $16 for seniors age 65 and older; $13 for youth ages 6-15 and $10 for kids ages 3-5. Children under three receive free admission. Discounted group admission rates are available to all groups of 10 or more who make advanced reservations through Pacific Science Center. To book corporate events and school or group visits, please call (206) 443-2001 or go to pacificsciencecenter.org. Pacific Science Center is committed to providing accessibility for all guests. For detailed information about our facility and services, visit pacificsciencecenter.org.

Pacific Science Center began as the United States Science Pavilion during the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Millions came to explore the wonders of science during the World's Fair and upon closing ceremonies, the Science Pavilion was given new life as the private not-for-profit Pacific Science Center, becoming the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center. On July 22, 2010 Pacific Science Center was declared a City of Seattle Landmark. On October 22, 2012 Pacific Science Center celebrated 50 years of inspiring curiosity, creativity and critical thinking for people of all ages throughout Washington and guests from around the world.