Monday, January 18, 2010
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic is partnering with the Rochester Public Library to bring the national touring exhibit RACE: Are We So Different? to Rochester, Minn. RACE explores the issues of race and racism in the United States and is targeted to people of all ages, interests and backgrounds. The exhibit will be on display at the library from May 17 through Sept. 4, 2010, and will be open to the public and free of charge to all visitors.
"The RACE exhibit brings together the everyday experience of living with race, its history as an idea, the role of science in that history, and the findings of contemporary science that are challenging its foundations," says John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic. "We believe the RACE exhibit will serve as a wonderful prompt for us all, for the people of Mayo Clinic and for the greater community — a prompt that will provoke thought, inspire conversation and challenge convention."
RACE: Are We So Different? promotes the appreciation and understanding of the origins and impacts of race and racism. It provides an opportunity for visitors to discuss and reflect on a powerful topic in their daily lives through artifacts, historic and contemporary photography, multimedia components and interactive experiences.
The exhibit provides a unique learning opportunity for Mayo Clinic staff, patients and the community to further understand the importance of diversity and respecting differences.
"By definition, a 'community' is a group of people with a common background," says Audrey Betcher, director of the Rochester Public Library. "The RACE exhibit will help our increasingly diverse community understand just how common our backgrounds are, through the lens of science, history and human behavior, as well as provide an opportunity to gather with neighbors to have meaningful discussions."
The exhibit explores race from three different perspectives. The three sections are interwoven and tell a moving story of science with deep and lasting social impact.
In this section of the exhibit, visitors will discover that human beings are more alike than any other living species, and no one gene or set of genes can support the idea of race.
Sorting people by physical differences is a recent invention. This section of the exhibit demonstrates how economic interests, power struggles, science and even popular culture have played a role in shaping the American understanding of race.
Although race may not be a real biological concept, it certainly is real both socially and culturally. In this section of the exhibit, visitors will explore the concept of race in American life — at school and work, at the doctor's office, neighborhoods, and through sports and entertainment industries.
The RACE exhibit first opened in January 2007 at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul and is now a national traveling exhibit that has been on display at world-recognized museums, such as the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, California Science Center and Franklin Institute.
"An exhibit of this size and scope is rarely offered in a community the size of Rochester," says Betcher. "We hope that the exhibit provides a personal experience to explore and understand the scientific basis for race and racism to inform thinking."
Mayo Clinic recognizes that demographic changes must be reflected in the people who work at Mayo. By expanding Mayo's staff to include people of diverse backgrounds, Mayo Clinic increases the opportunity to enhance decision making and expand ideas and solutions to challenging situations. Mayo Clinic is committed to a workplace that is culturally responsive and diverse.
The RACE exhibit was developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota and funded by the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The national tour is presented by Best Buy and the exhibit is sponsored by Mayo Clinic and the Rochester Public Library. Bringing the exhibit to Rochester has been in the planning for three years and is made possible with support through the Incented Investment in Mayo's Future program.
Read more for up-to-date information on the RACE exhibit, including hours, group accommodations, facilitated group discussions, events and resources.
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