The Science Museum of Minnesota has received $1 million from the Otto Bremer Trust as the lead investment in the museum’s equity initiative, which seeks to expand its impact using science to address education outcomes.
The Science Museum will use the investment to update its award-winning “RACE: Are We So Different?” exhibition.
“We are enormously grateful to the Otto Bremer Trust for their generous investment toward advancing equity work in our community,” said Joanne Jones-Rizzi, vice president of STEM Equity and Education at the Science Museum. “The museum is deeply committed to the powerful role that STEM can play in creating a more equitable and just society, and we view the ‘RACE’ exhibition as an entry point for people to have a shared experience and explore and better understand the systems of inequity that have shaped our nation.”
“RACE: Are We So Different?” debuted at the Science Museum in 2007. After its run in St. Paul, it toured the nation for 10 years. During its national tour, it was seen by more than four million people at more than 50 museums in 27 states. When the tour concluded, it became a part of the museum’s permanent exhibit galleries. “RACE,” which is a project of the American Anthropological Association, received the American Alliance of Museums’ Excellence in Exhibition award, and it was recognized in the Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights Community Engagement competition.
“The ‘RACE’ exhibit has been transformative in starting conversations about race across the country,” said Daniel Reardon, co-CEO, the Otto Bremer Trust. “Given the societal and cultural changes since the exhibit was created, we support the museum’s plan to update and refresh the exhibit and make it even more relevant.”
The exhibition highlights the history, biology and contemporary lived experience of race and racism in the United States, illuminating systems of inequity like education, housing, health care and wealth disparities. The Science Museum will use the Otto Bremer Trust investment to incorporate new components that explore other systems of inequity that have been in the spotlight in recent years, including the criminal justice system and the relationships between people of color and law enforcement.
“In 2007, people really weren’t talking about race, and our goal with the RACE exhibition was to increase the quantity and quality of conversations,” said Jones-Rizzi. “Today, for many reasons, including the rise of social media and its impact on our access to news and information, people are talking about race-related topics with much greater frequency. Our goal in updating the exhibition is to help visitors make connections between what they’re seeing in the news and to better understand the impact that systems of inequity have on our society.”
Work on the updates to the “RACE” exhibition will begin this summer, with the updated exhibition set to open in 2020.