The History Colorado Center will open an exhibition that confronts the issue of race and racism in the United States. RACE: Are We So Different encourages museum visitors to explore the science, history and everyday impact of race. The exhibition opens Sept. 20 and runs through Jan. 4, 2015. RACE also coincides with National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, RACE is the first exhibition that tells the stories of race from biological, cultural and historical points of view. AARP, The Denver Foundation, and Facing History and Ourselves support this unprecedented exhibit.
“This is an amazing exhibition that tackles an issue that is vitally important to our community and our country,” said Ed Nichols, CEO of History Colorado. “It offers a powerful look at race and racism, and challenges visitors to talk about the issue and their own experiences. We’re using this exhibit to create a broader platform to engage our community. We want to open up dialogue and stimulate thought-provoking programming that extends well beyond the exhibit.”
History Colorado is planning a variety of programs, including a professional development series, workshops for teachers, parents and students, and networking events. The museum has launched an extensive community partners program, engaging nearly 100 multicultural organizations to be part of the conversation and participate throughout the exhibit’s stay at History Colorado, and beyond.
“Our teams are working to help our community partners activate their networks, neighbors, colleagues, friends and families in this extremely complex, controversial and vital discussion – especially today, when many people feel that we live in a post-racial society,” says donnie l. betts, education liaison at History Colorado.
For families, there will be a series of workshops about the importance of talking to children about race. “With the growth of interracial unions, multiracial and LGBT families, the complexity of a conversation about race and diversity enlarges,” says betts. “Let’s not fear the conversation, let’s love the conversation.”
Award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, who has covered America’s untold stories and unsung heroes, will lead a Community Conversation on Sept. 22 at the History Colorado Center. Hinojosa will explore issues of identity, and how individual experiences define our nation’s “race” story. To register, visit: http://hstry.is/1m6fhak
A six-month series called “FWD,” developed and curated by betts, will explore the history and science of race. What does race and identity mean for our future? How do we move forward in our nation to heal the open sore of racism? Each evening will feature film clips, music, a panel, a facilitator and honest audience dialogue in a safe environment.
The Oct. 14 FWD program features What Does the Science Say? “Though there is no biological difference between races of people, race as a concept is very real,” says betts. “This program will explore the origins of race and how institutional racism is so deeply entrenched in our community and the world.”
The Nov. 11 conversation will explore the economics of race in urban and rural development as well as access to bank loans, mortgages and affordable healthcare.
The Dec. 9 program will feature race and the arts, introducing audiences to the ways race shapes everyone’s lives, especially as we experience the arts and pop culture. This month also features a performance of area high schoolers as they explore what the letters “R. A. C. E.” mean to them in this millennium age.
RACE is also an exhibit designed to help educators teach about race, and not just in a historical context. On Sept. 23, History Colorado will host educators’ open house and exhibit preview. This will be followed by a two-day professional development workshop on Sept. 27 and 28, where teachers are invited to join an exploration of membership in U.S. history, of “in groups” and “out groups” closely tied to the history of race.
Lectures will include Dr. Greg Robinson from the University of Quebec at Montreal about wartime Japanese confinement in the U.S., Canada and Mexico during World War II. Robinson will speak at the History Colorado Center on Sept. 16.
The History Colorado Center will screen the film I’m Not Racist . . . Am I? on Oct. 20. The film follows a diverse group of teens in New York through a yearlong exploration of racism. Through tense, honest and painful moments, it portrays how these difficult conversations affect their relationships with friends and parents and ultimately challenge them to look deep within themselves.
Join History Colorado for RACE: Are We So Different? Be part of the conversation, and maybe you’ll even help change that conversation through your participation.
Editor’s note: History Colorado, a Smithsonian Affiliate, inspires generations to find wonder and meaning in the past and to engage in building a better Colorado. Find them on Facebook.com/HistoryColorado and on Twitter@HistoryColorado. For more information visit www.HistoryColorado.org, call 303-HISTORY (447-8679) or visit History Colorado Center at 1200 Broadway in Denver.