Science exhibit asks, "are we so different?" - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

McWane Science Center takes unique approach to examining race

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Fifty years ago, differences in skin color divided many people in Birmingham and lead to the Civil Rights Movement. Now, one museum is taking a unique look at the issue of race and asking- are we so different?

The McWane Science Center is exploring whether race is based upon science or society's labels. The museum's CEO hopes it starts new conversations about race.

"It's a little weird seeing your skin so close up," said 8-year-old Lily Rulewicz examining her skin beneath a microscope.

Lily is looking beyond the color of her skin even beneath it.

"You don't judge a person by his or her skin or a book by its cover," she said.

Her grandmother has had a conversation or two about race with her children.

"God made us the same. We're all equal. He just likes variety, so he gave us different colors of skin," said Barbara Bassett, Lily's grandmother.

But for others, it's harder to explain.

"You don't want to point out differences in people but this exhibit shows we are all the same- just a little different skin color," said Aaron Avery who visited the exhibit with his younger brother.

That's the point.

"It's geared to provoke conversation and challenge the thing you thought you knew and thought you believed. It's fine to come in and not agree with everything in here. That's the point- to really make you think," said Amy Templeton, President and CEO of McWane Science Center.

Visitors also have a chance to share their own stories of racism and to ask why skin color should matter at all.

But the exhibit also provides the opportunity to sit beside a child and simply talk.

"It just teaches the kids everybody came from one place and where we all started from. This is something they should know," said Avery.

The exhibit runs through September 2nd.