FLINT – On Aug. 4, Sloan Museum will launch a community conversation about race and racism in the United States, when the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit opens at its Flint Cultural Center location.
RACE will encourage visitors to explore the science, history, and everyday impact of race. The exhibit is presented in partnership with The University of Michigan-Flint and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF), and will coincide with a series of community events hosted around the city.
Local funding for the exhibit comes from a $52,625 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Additional support comes from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, through the University of Michigan-Flint’s “Flint Truth and Action Partnership Project.” Admission to the exhibit will be free on Mondays and Saturdays.
“At Sloan Museum, we’re committed to providing opportunities for families and individuals to have meaningful learning experiences in community—going beyond what’s possible in the classroom with interactive exhibits and thought-provoking conversations,” Sloan Museum Executive Director Todd Slisher said. “We’re honored to present our visitors with an opportunity to explore race and racism and tackle an issue that’s important to our community and our country. Sloan Museum will always be a place for fun, hands-on learning, and it’s also a place to think and talk about important topics, especially through the lenses of local history and science. This exhibit is designed for the whole family, because it’s never too early to have conversations about race.”
The exhibit aligns with the Community Foundation’s 30th anniversary theme of Celebrating Our Common Humanity.
“Through the exhibit, we hope to engage people from all racial, ethnic, religious and identity groups in a genuine effort to increase understanding, communication, caring and respect for one another,” said Isaiah Oliver, President and CEO of CFGF.
“UM-Flint is proud to partner with the Sloan Museum, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to bring this important exhibit to Flint,” said Susan E. Borrego, Chancellor at the University of Michigan- Flint. “We can combat racism through education, open and honest conversation, and compassion for others. This exhibit helps us begin the conversations we need to be having in our community and beyond. During this exhibit, and in the months to follow, UM-Flint will host several dialogues that help us extend these conversations and embrace the diversity that exists in our region.”
The RACE exhibit is part of a larger public education project by American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, and funded by the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation.
The RACE exhibit addresses the topics of race and racism from three different perspectives. The three sections are interwoven and tell a compelling story of science with deep and lasting social impact.
Science: 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.
This exhibit is the first in a series of events designed to inspire community conversations, presented by the University of Michigan-Flint and CFGF. UM-Flint’s community events will include presentations by faculty, students, and community members that address the topic of race and systemic racism in the city of Flint. Guests will be encouraged to engage in open dialogue surrounding the issues of race, racial healing, and thriving in the midst of racism. These events will take place at Sloan Museum, and other locations throughout the city.
CFGF is sponsoring a Racial Healing Day on Sept. 29 at Mott Community College. During this day community members will participate in a professionally facilitated healing circle where they can speak their truth in a nonjudgmental, safe space. From Oct. 15 through November, community groups will partner with CFGF to host a series of Visioning Sessions to explore the past and define hopes for the future.
RACE: Are We So Different? will be open to the public daily, Aug.-Dec. 2. Free admission on Mondays and Saturdays is sponsored by The Community Foundation of Greater Flint. General admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for youth ages 2-11, and free for members. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Details: Call 810- 237-3450 or visit SloanMuseum.org. — G.G.