In recent years any attempt to discuss race brought to the surface many ugly and good things in the American society. Some felt threatened by the fact that their beliefs were being challenged and their ideas might be erroneous, while others were excited to be able to talk about their experiences and try to work on solutions to help others to see the flaws in their beliefs about race. At the end of the day we are all humans and it makes us ask are we really so different from each other. The Putnam Museum exhibit RACE: Are We So Different? attempts to tackle this question.
RACE: Are We So Different? is open now to visitors of all ages. This exhibit is trying to guide visitors to try to understand better the origins and appearances of race and racism in daily lives through investigations of what race really is and trying to get people to think differently about race using science. This exhibit looks into history of the idea of race and it also touches on the experience of race in the United States when it comes to housing, education and health.
For Kim Findlay, President and CEO of the Putnam Museum, this particular exhibit is very important. She also believes that this exhibit is important for the community and it is an enlightening experience.
“That idea that we all different and that we don’t belong together never took hold of me. I don’t get it and I am idealistic person,” Ms. Findlay explained.
She also explained that some of the ideas many people believe come from the fact that this ideas were created to divide us.
“We have different heritages, we have different traditions and that is easy. They are beautiful, they are meaningful, and we should enjoy it,” she elaborated more on her beliefs. “What we don’t need to do is put attributions on the people based on skin color. There is no scientific bases for that”
Years of erroneous beliefs about race can create a wall of separation and to break this wall people need to learn more about the topic of race, to investigate it better and RACE: Are We So Different? gives the opportunity to do so.
“History is right here before us. We don’t need to dig very hard. We don’t have to go very far. We just have to come to the exhibit with an open mind, with an open heart and open mind. Because why not? To anyone who is saying why would I do that, I know what I think, I know what I believe, why not? What’s the worst is going to happen to you?” Ms. Findlay invites everyone in the community to come out and learn more from this exhibit.
In addition to learning and investigating the topic of race, this exhibit also invites visitors to share their own story. RACE: Are We So Different? also presents the Ancestry Map Project. On Saturdays Putnam Museum visitors can bring results from their ancestry kit or documents of geological research and the results will be put on the oversized map that allows participants to see what part of the world they come from and what parts of the world other participants come from. It might even surprise many people how much more we all have in common. Bring your results or documents on Saturdays until Memorial Day between 1pm and 3pm (Putnam will not keep participants’ results. They only will be used to create a spot on the map that represents the participant’s ancestry). By offering to participate in Ancestry Map Project Putnam Museum invites the participants not just simply believe what the exhibit RACE: Are We So Different? presents, but actually participate in the project that might break the wall of separation and would allow visitors to learn that there are a lot more things that unite us.
RACE: Are We SO Different? exhibit is available for viewing now at the Putnam Museum. The Putnam Museum is located at 1717 W. 12th Street, Davenport, IA. The exhibit is included in the cost of admission, which is $9 for adults and $8 for youth (3 to 18 years of age), military, seniors and college students. The admission is free for members. For more information about this exhibit please visit http://www.putnam.org