Monday, March 25, 2013

UNF Students Visit MOSH's (Museum of Science & History) Exhibit: RACE: Are We So Different?


University of North Florida students visited the Museum of Science & History's (MOSH) exhibit titled,
Race: Are We So Different? in early March 2013. The exhibit is absolutely engaging. It is traveling nationally across the United States and is for all age levels, from the young to the young at heart. The exhibit started at MOSH on January 26 and will continue through April 28. Regular admission price to the museum is $10 for adults and $8 for children, seniors, and the military. On Fridays there are extended hours and the admission price is $5.

UNF students are captivated right away at the exhibit's entrance.


You can walk on this floor map! It says, "We all come from Africa and we've been moving and mixing ever since. Do you know where your ancestors have been?". 

UNF Students.

This part of the exhibit gives the explanation for the variations in skin color.

"Geography-not race-explains skin color variation." Rather, the geography of our past ancestors! This is a close-up photo of the previous panel, one of my favorites in the exhibit. Nina Jablonski, pictured on the far left, is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Penn State. She authored the book titled, Skin, A Natural History. In 2009 she gave a TED Talk, Breaking the Illusion of Skin Color.

"What do scientists say about race?" This video discusses race and the history of it in the United States.  It is closed captioned and the bottom reads, "American society has created a mythology". Even the  definition  of the race categories on the U.S. Census have changed over time!


"Does color equal race?"

The history of race in the United States begins with colonization in the Age of Exploration.


This panel illustrates the plasticity of racial categories, depending on the country. "Vegetable or fruit? If you are from the U.S., you probably consider the avocado a vegetable and eat  it in a salad with dressing. If you are from Brazil, you think of the avocado as a fruit and eat it for dessert with sugar and lemon juice. Same avocado. Different categories."

Vegetable/Fruit? or "Black or white? If you grew up in the U.S., you would see the people in this photo as either  'black',  'white' or 'mixed'. But if you grew up in Brazil, you would think of the people as follows: (front row) morena, morena excura, mulato claro, and (back row) branco and preto. Same people. Different categories."

"White is a squishy category." There are many interactive activities in the exhibit. This one invites viewers to take a quiz about who is white and who is not. Soon you realize that the answers are relative and indeterminable!

Carl Linneaus is the father of modern biological classification or taxonomy. Basically, he originated the way we classify animals, such as kingdom, phylum, and so on down to species. He included four species of us humans based on race in the 18th century. It was a huge mistake that has ramifications today.




                           Here are more pictures of my fellow classmates enjoying the exhibit:






There is a lecture series to go along with the exhibit that is free and open to the public. Dr. Faye Harrison, a race scholar and University of Florida anthropologist spoke at MOSH on Thursday, February 28, 2013. She helped to create the exhibit. Her talk was titled: Race in the New Millennium and the Age of Obama


UNF students joined Dr. Faye Harrison after her lecture for dinner!

We really enjoyed meeting and speaking with her! It was especially wonderful as we are reading a book of essays she edited titled Decolonizing Anthropology in one of our anthropology classes.


There will be one last speaker in the series, and it is UNF's own Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Melissa Hargrove! It is March 28, 2013 at 6 p.m. Her talk is titled, Through our eyes:Racing and Erasing Art. It is free and open to the public, but preregistration is required. Please visit: http://www.themosh.org/race-keynote.html to reserve your seat.


I hope you get a chance to see the Race: Are we so Different? exhibit at MOSH. Then you can answer the question above for yourself.




A very special thank you to Jacksonville, Florida's Museum of Science and History for allowing me to take photographs and hosting UNF students!
Here are links for more information about the content of this blog:

An album of pictures from Dr. Faye Harrison's lecture by the Florida Times Union on Jacksonville.comhttp://photos.jacksonville.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1618576&CategoryID=8543

For more on the Race Project, please visit: http://www.understandingrace.org/about/overview.html

Here's a link to an educator's guide for the exhibit. I recommend it for everyone! http://www.themosh.org/race_files/RACE-Educator-Guide.pdf

Finally, here's a link to MOSH about the exhibit: http://www.themosh.org/race.html


Posted by: Jen Knutson, FPAN Intern
Photos courtesy of the Florida Public Archaeology Network








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