Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Through October 27
Various times

Hear one woman talk about discovering her white privilege. Hear  another talk about growing up Korean in a white family. And yet another person explain what it’s like to be a part of a multi-racial couple.

A new exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Natural History is the first of its kind to explore the science, history and contemporary issues surrounding race and racism in America. On view through October 27th, RACE: Are We So Different? addresses race and racism from three interconnected perspectives: science, history and everyday experience.

The 5,000 square feet of exhibit space features text, photographs, and  interactive components that challenge existing perceptions about race and examine why perceived differences have been used to justify discrimination.

Visitors can also explore how race has been classified and engage in personal and public dialogue. Appropriate for all ages, RACE begins by asking basic questions often posed by children about the similarity and differences among ethnicities or nationalities.

Interactive hands-on elements encourage visitors to explore the science and history of race on their own, while privately examining their own perceptions. Trained facilitators stationed in the galleries are available to answer questions and provide a welcoming environment.

Visitors are also encouraged to engage in a broader dialogue about race, racism, diversity and equity in America–and specifically in Pittsburgh–via accompanying programming. Providing the public with a safe and open space for learning about race and racism, the engaging project aims to nurture conversations that might not otherwise occur, and that once started inside the galleries, can carry far beyond the museum’s walls. A range of special public programs are offered in conjunction with RACE, including the Silk Screen Asian American Festival (April 26, 27, 30 and May 1–4) and WQED Film Community Cinema’s screening of The New Black (June 12).

Unique to CMNH’s presentation of RACE is a site-specific Community Voices Gallery curated by Lynne Hayes-Freeland and Nikkia Hall. The unique space juxtaposes new original photography with Charles “Teenie” Harris’ historical photos, along with questions posed to community members from years past, showing that the same topics and issues have been grappled with for decades and still demand attention. Inspired by the Pittsburgh Courier’s “Pittsburgh Speaks Up” column, Community Voices presents a contemporary dialogue focused on the persisting challenges of race in the Pittsburgh region.

Photo courtesy of American Anthropological Association and Science Museum of Minnesota.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.