RACE: Are We So Different?

Experience this highly personal and thought-provoking exhibition at the Science Center of Iowa October 10, 2015, through April 3, 2016.

People look different. Like a fingerprint, each person is unique. Each person represents a one-of-a-kind combination of their parents', grandparents' and family's ancestry - and every person experiences life somewhat differently than others. But are we so different?

This provocative exhibition investigates race and human variation using three primary themes: the history of the idea of race, the science of human variation and the contemporary experience of race and racism in the United States.

The exhibit includes:

  • Interactive exhibit components
  • Historical artifacts
  • Iconic objects
  • Compelling photographs
  • Multimedia presentations

RACE: Are We So Different? is a project of the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, funded by Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation.



Admission: Admission to the exhibition is included with SCI general admission ($12 for adults and $8 for children and seniors). [Note: The RACE: Are We So Different? exhibition will be closed October 27-29 for a private event.]

Group Visits and Diversity Training: SCI also has developed four group visit packages to provide diversity and inclusion training for groups of 20-250. View group visit packages and information

School Trips: School visits are only $2 through February 2016. Learn more about SCI School Visits



Cafe Scientifique forums
These informal educational experiences will engage adult and young adult audiences in meaningful discussion on relevant, race-related topics. Cafe Sci events are free to the public and take place on the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30-7:00 pm. View event details at www.sciowa.org/cafesci

Recognizing Race series
Expand your understanding of difference and diversity through interactive discussions led by local experts from a variety of fields. As you hear from historians, psychologists, scientists, educators and more, you’ll have the opportunity to ask tough questions about race and racism and rethink how science and sociology interact to create complex judgments and behaviors.

MLK Day at SCI presented by The Principal
Thanks to support from The Principal, admission will be free on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – January 18, 2016! Visitors are invited to engage in a discussion surrounding race and ethnicity in our community with the traveling exhibition RACE: Are We So Different? as well as facilitated talking circles throughout the day.

Prejudice and Possibility: Race in the Classroom Saturday, February 20
How does race shape the educational experience for students? Do subtle sociopolitical cues guide opportunities available to them? Are the effects consistent from Kindergarten through higher education?
Join the Science Center of Iowa and Iowa State University’s Social Justice Collective to explore these issues and discuss the importance of constructing classrooms that embrace equity. In this two-hour session, ISU professors will present short 15-minute sessions on their research – from instructional leadership to identity development.

Youth Symposium presented by Bankers Trust – Tuesday, March 29
SCI will host a Youth Symposium for high school students in Central Iowa. Through a variety of activities, students will be challenged to change the way they think, talk about and address race and inequities in their schools. Event details are being finalized.

Tough Talk on the Data of Race – Thursday, March 31
Join us for a quality discussion on the data of race as we tackle issues that are addressed both in the RACE exhibit and in this new series of public forums. Hear from an expert from the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. (Jens Manuel Krogstad Ortiz) and other partners. Come ready to dive into some of the latest racial data and for open, honest conversation with your fellow Iowans. This is a collaboration between The Des Moines Register and Drake University.Details



Five years in the making, this 43-minute National Geographic documentary presents audiences with a rare glimpse into one of the world's oldest and most beloved cities.

JERUSALEM explores the intersection of science, history and religion in a city that is considered sacred by nearly half the people on Earth. Audiences are given a rare glimpse into the storied city as well as exclusive access to iconic holy sites - including the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee and the mountain fortress of Masada.

View trailer

IMAX tickets can be purchased separately, or combo tickets are availalbe to experience RACE, SCI and IMAX together for a discounted price. Visit www.sciowa.org/imaxshowtimes for showtimes.



It has always been SCI’s goal to present our audiences with new ideas that stretch their ways of thinking and encourage thoughtful discourse. We believe this provocative exhibition, which focuses on human variation through the lenses of science, history and culture, will spark important conversation regarding race in the United States and in our community.

Iowa has a history of being forward-thinking. Now, however, recent events throughout our nation reflect a disparate system of race in law enforcement, education and employment. From race-related violence across the country to findings that Iowa has the highest rate of racial disparity in the penal system in the country, it’s apparent that there’s a critical need for community-wide dialogue about racism and ethnicity. We, as Iowans, have the opportunity to shape national discourse on these issues.

This is a crucial conversation - one we acknowledge is sometimes an uncomfortable topic - but science can help us understand even the most complex issues. With this exhibit, we aim to create a safe space for meaningful conversation and facilitate an informed discussion on this timely topic.

Race in the News:

  • 'Worst Cities for Black Americans' shames Midwest, The Des Moines Register View article
  • Tiny Iowa town combats Islamophobia, The Des Moines Register View article
  • Black parents worry about children, police, The Des Moines Register View article
  • Black Iowans feel profiled by police, The Des Moines Register View article



Presenting Sponsor: Nationwide
Major Sponsor: Wells Fargo
Supporting Sponsors: Bankers Trust, Principal Financial Group
Sustaining Sponsors: Faegre Baker Daniels, John Deere