“RACE: Are We So Different?” exhibit coming to Luther College

August 27, 2019

How the interactive exhibition is sparking conversation at Luther and beyond

Luther College presents the exhibit "RACE: Are We So Different?" as an educational opportunity and the kick-off event to a year-long conversation on racism. Experience the opening of the award-winning exhibit 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the Center for the Arts atrium on Luther's campus.  

The original "RACE: Are We So Different?" exhibit is housed in the Science Museum of Minnesota, but now Luther College is inviting the campus community, local schools and the public to visit a condensed version of the exhibition. On loan from the Diversity Council of Rochester, the multimedia experience "has the potential to be life-changing," according to Char Kunkel, professor of sociology and chair of women and gender studies.

Kunkel was the liaison between the college and the Diversity Council of Rochester and worked to bring this experience to Decorah.

"It's an awesome, interactive exhibit where people can learn about the science of race. In other words, that race isn't a scientific or biological concept, but a social construct. It also examines the history of racism in the United States and will help you understand the experience of racism on behalf of people of color," Kunkel said.

As Luther continues to work towards inclusivity and equity, Kunkel, along with three other Luther representatives spent four days in Atlanta, Georgia at the "Diversity, Civility and the Liberal Arts Institute." During their time, the group worked to develop action plans to strengthen diversity and civility on campus.

That's where this exhibit comes in. The event featuring "RACE: Are We So Different?" will be followed by a year of speakers and events sparking meaningful conversation about how we, as a college and society, can be more inclusive and equitable.

President Jenifer K. Ward's first visit to Luther after being appointed President coincided with the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of Luther's Black Student Union and she is happy to see these continued efforts.

"This exhibit represents both continuity of conversation around diversity and inclusion at Luther and a timely focusing of our attention on these enduring commitments," said Ward. 

Following the Sept. 10 event, the exhibit will be relocated to the Women and Gender Equality Center where it will be available to view by appointment only through the fall 2019 semester. It will serve as an educational tool for Luther students as well as students from area elementary, middle and high schools and local church congregations. Guided tours may be available Monday through Friday for up to 20 people. To schedule an appointment call 563-387-1001 or email schoco01@luther.edu.

Luther College is home to 2,000 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.