About the Exhibition


Challenge how you think about our differences and our similarities.
People are different. Throughout history, these differences have been a source of community strength and personal identity. They have also been the basis for discrimination and oppression. Contemporary scientific understanding of human variation now challenges the idea of racial differences, and even questions the very concept of race. RACE: Are We So Different? is the first national exhibition to tell the story of race from biological, cultural, and historical points of view. Introducing the idea of race as a primarily social construct, as opposed to a physical reality, the exhibit invites visitors to challenge how they perceive their differences and similarities.


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Plan Your Visit

Sorry, no food, drink or photography is allowed in the exhibit space. 

Getting Tickets
Admission to RACE is included in general admission.

Members get in for free!

Planning a Field Trip
Bring your class to RACE for an exciting and fun learning experience.

Plan a Group Visit
For General Admission, groups of 12 or more qualify for discounts when they book their visit in advance.

Hotel Packages
Spend an exciting weekend in the city! Portland area hotels will be offering packages that include tickets to see RACE.

Demos & Activities

Here are some of the demos and activities you may be able to see while visiting RACE.

Talking Circles
“The talking circle was amazing. When we debriefed with students back in Seattle, they commented that the circle made the experience, it helped them process and understand the experience differently.”
- Kris Morrissey, PhD

Based on Native American traditions, Talking Circles are facilitated discussions in which all participants are invited to reflect on their experience about race in their lives and communities. Presented in partnership with Oregon Humanities, the RACE Talking Circles at OMSI are facilitated by Dr. Emily Drew, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies at Willamette University, where she teaches courses about race, ethnicity, and social change. Talking Circles provide a valuable, non-confrontational forum in which to explore and foster diversity and learn a valuable communication technique. RACE Talking Circles are offered Wednesdays at OMSI during the RACE exhibit with reservations made 2 weeks in advance, from September to December.

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For more information about booking and reservations, please email register@omsi.edu or call 503-797-4661 for more information.

DNA Extraction
What is DNA and why do we study it? Visitors will be able to learn how DNA extraction works by extracting DNA from strawberries with some common household materials.
Identity Bracelets
This craft activity will allow you to create a bracelet to keep. Pick from different beads that represent some of the traits from the Genetic Traits demo to create your own unique pattern.

The Skinny on Skin and Hair
What is hair? How long do skin cells live? What are moles? Using a wireless handled microscope and an iPad, visitors will be able to study their skin or hair and that of others. Using iPad applications they will learn more about how skin works, how hair grows and why they can vary so much between individuals.

Continuum of Color
What is hair? How long do skin cells live? What are moles? Visitors will be able to explore the range of human skin color variation and why we have it. Why does skin color matter? Why is there so much variation? Visitors can explore a little behind the biological advantages of varied skin tones and the cultural meanings of skin color.

Genetic Traits
Visitors will learn more about some easily observable Mendelian traits like tongue rolling and dimples and why one family member might have that trait and another may not! A simple exploration of dominant and recessive genes and what genotype and phenotype mean.

Getting Here

Science Store

Visit the OMSI Science StoreThe OMSI Science Store has the perfect mix of educational and entertaining gifts, games, and gadgets. Shop in the museum or online.
Visit the OMSI Science Store