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Acclaimed Exhibit on Race Involves Area Institutions

Exhibit will explore concepts of race, inequality at Holocaust museum this fall

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June 12, 2014 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

The nationally acclaimed exhibition “RACE: Are We So Different?” will provoke Chicago-area residents with the challenges implied in its title when it comes to Skokie this fall at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

The Holocaust museum has partnered with the YWCA Evanston/North Shore to bring to the area the first national exhibition to tell the stories of race from biological, cultural and historical points of view.

Northwestern University is a sponsor of “RACE,” and plans are underway to spur engaging and thought-provoking programming across Northwestern’s campuses, in departments ranging from psychology to dance.

The University looks forward to working together with the museum and the YWCA to explore the concept of race, said Lucile Krasnow, special assistant for community relations at Northwestern.

“Since all of our missions align, the exhibit gives us a chance to collaborate and bring many groups throughout the community into the discussion about race and equality,” she said.

“RACE” already is being complemented by the University’s community reading program, One Book One Northwestern, as part of programming around the exhibit.

“Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do,” by the distinguished social psychologist Claude Steele, will be required reading for Northwestern’s Class of 2018 this summer as the 2014-15 selection for the One Book initiative.

“RACE,” developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, uses interactive components, multimedia presentations, iconic objects, compelling photographs and graphic displays to offer visitors an eye-opening look at its important subject matter.

“The idea of ‘race’ has been used historically to justify mistreatment of people and even genocide,” said Arielle Weininger, chief curator of collections and exhibitions at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. “The promotion of human rights is a vital part of the mission of the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and so we are thrilled to co-present ‘RACE,’ an exhibition that challenges visitors of all ages and backgrounds to discover how race operates in their lives.”

The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, said Karen Singer, the CEO of YWCA Evanston/North Shore. Racial justice programming is a core element of YWCA work, she said. 

“This unique partnership provides an opportunity not only to expand the conversation, but also to support others in deepening their understanding of how this socially constructed notion of ‘race’ impacts us all,” Singer said.

“RACE: Are We So Different?” will be at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, at 9603 Woods Drive in Skokie, from Oct. 12 through Jan. 25, 2015. Related to the University’s sponsorship of “RACE,” Northwestern students, faculty and staff will be granted free entry.  Learn more about the exhibit at www.understandingrace.org or www.ilholocaustmuseum.org. Learn more about community programming at www.ywca.org/evanston.

Topics: Neighborhood