The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is currently hosting a very timely special exhibit entitled RACE: Are We So Different? My own family has a membership and makes a point to visit each and every special exhibit. Sometimes multiple times. Other things have come up on our schedule the past few months causing us to delay getting there for this one until this past weekend. Following difficult news, we felt it was necessary to make time to visit.
My kids are 8 and 2-1/2. Both somewhat still oblivious to race. The youngest joyously just sees people as people and loves on her teachers and friends at school regardless of any so called differences from herself. At most she’ll differentiate between boys and girls. End of story.
My oldest is in third grade and recognizes that not all skin colors are the same, but not much more beyond that. I felt this exhibit was important for him to experience and help us start conversations. I want to hide both of my kids from the sort of hatred and violence the country witnessed this weekend. But I can’t. And I shouldn’t. I do believe empowering the next generation with education is the way to find the solution and end the “differences.”
Admittedly, even with my husband along, I didn’t get to see and read every piece of this exhibit. I was preoccupied at times chasing the toddler. Other times I stopped and discussed with my son what he was doing/reading/watching. If you can visit kid free, I do think it’s worth it. If you can’t or only have one opportunity, by all means, take your kids.
This is a family friendly, free (that’s right – free for all not just members) exhibit that is full of interactive displays for all ages. My daughter enjoyed pushing buttons even if she didn’t understand the videos, and really loved the puppets & books available to play with and read.
My son spent time reading several of the displays and, of course, trying out every interactive option (computer, blood pressure monitor, etc). He still doesn’t clearly understand how people are or have been separated by something so basic as their skin color. But he did learn more about humans, history, and what genes are. Nothing that will solve the issues of today immediately, but I certainly think educating ourselves and our children is a great step in the right direction.
Find a time. Write it on the calendar. Go see this exhibit. Take your kids. Start and/or continue the conversation.
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Sun noon – 5pm (last entry at 4pm)
Exhibit Cost: Free
Directions & Parking Info – http://naturalsciences.org/