February 23, 2023

Discovery Place to Present Prestigious Smithsonian Exhibition as Part of its Ongoing Equity Work

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 23, 2023) – Discovery Place Science announces today that they will host “The Bias Inside Us” from March 11 – April 9. The community engagement project from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) will raise awareness about the social science and psychology of implicit bias, the impact of this bias and what people can do about it.

“The Bias Inside Us” features a traveling exhibition that serves as the centerpiece for local programs and activities. Through compelling images, hands-on interactives and powerful testimonials and videos, the exhibition unpacks and demystifies the concept of bias. The exhibition features six sections: Introduction, The Science of Bias, Bias in Real Life, Serious Consequences—Bias is All Around Us, #RetrainYourBrain and Personal Reflection.

“We are honored to have been selected by the Smithsonian Institution as one of the 40 communities across the country to host this exhibition,” said Catherine Wilson Horne, President & CEO of Discovery Place. “This is a different type of exhibition for our Museum, and we welcome the opportunity to put community first by partnering with local organizations to encourage civil dialogue on important issues facing our nation.”

Discovery Place Science will host free* Community Access Evenings for “The Bias Inside Us” on the following Thursday evenings from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.: March 16, 23, 30 and April 6. *Free admission to this special exhibition; the rest of the Museum will be closed and not accessible. Exhibition content is developed for middle school ages through adults and advance ticket registration is required for the free Community Access Evenings.

While hosting the exhibition, Discovery Place will partner with the following community organizations to share its commitment to equity work and disrupting bias in Charlotte: The Arts & Science Council (ASC), the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Community Building Initiatives (CBI), Confronting Whiteness, Levine Museum of the New South, Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (RMJJ) and United Way of Greater Charlotte. “Each of these community partners brings unique skills and resources that will elevate and enrich our programming,” said Heather Norton, Discovery Place Chief Science Officer. “We are honored to have their commitment in bringing ‘The Bias Inside Us’ to Charlotte.”

Visitors will explore the foundational blocks of bias, the psychology of how it forms and how it influences behaviors both consciously and unconsciously. Interactive elements display how implicit and explicit bias shows up in the world and how bias influences systems and policies that have consequences for many people and communities. One interactive experience invites visitors to think about how bias is reflected in product design, advertising, architecture and technology. Among the videos in the exhibition is a series that features eight voices from diverse perspectives sharing personal experiences with bias.

The exhibition also features Spanish photographer Angélica Dass’ Humanae project, which reflects on the color of skin that challenges the concept of race. In this work, Dass documents humanity’s true colors through portraits, rather than the labels “white,” “red,” “black” and “yellow.”

“Bias is part of being human,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “Our goal through ‘The Bias Inside Us’ is to help individuals understand and counter their implicit bias and help communities thrive through conversation and greater understanding.”

“The Bias Inside Us” draws from the scientific research and educational work by psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji of Harvard University and Anthony G. Greenwald, professor emeritus at the University of Washington. They defined the term “implicit bias” through their work on unconscious and conscious mental processes. Their book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (Delacorte Press, 2013) explores the biases people carry based on their exposure to cultural attitudes on areas such as gender, race, social class and disability status.

Major support for “The Bias Inside Us” is provided by the Otto Bremer Trust. Additional support provided by Acton Family Giving, Anonymous donors, The Beverly Foundation, Steve and Sheri Lear, Target, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, Thomson Reuters, Alabama Power Foundation, Allianz of America, Valerie E. and William A. Anders, Atlanta Gas Light Foundation, Julie and David Burton, the Dreier Family, Lennart Ehn and Ginger Lew, Expedia, Trevor and Melissa Fetter, the Roger S. Firestone Foundation, Brenda J. Gaines, Myra Hart and Kent Hewitt, Charlie and Nancy Hogan, Judy and Bob Huret, Dr. Christine C. Jenkins and Mr. Pierre A. France, KNOCK, inc., Sarah Lawer and Frank Guanco, Leaders Forum, Kathleen Mason, Elyse Rabinowitz and Jim Porter, Dr. Philip S. and Alice Hoolihan Randall, Gloria del C. Rodriguez, the Family of Leona Roen, and Naoma Tate.

“The Bias Inside Us” is based on an original concept developed by Tolerance in Motion: Steve Lear, Laura Zelle and Elyse Rabinowitz, founders; Ellen Glatstein, Laura Lipshutz, Alice Randall, Joanne Jones-Rizzi and Susan Shapiro, directors; Don Shelby, founding advisor; and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Steve Hunegs, executive director.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 70 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

Media Preview Thursday, March 9 from 10:00 a.m. – noon. Drop in for a self-guided tour and the opportunity to take photos and videos. Representatives from Discovery Place and some of our partner organizations will be available to speak with media. Please RSVP to Sarah Wheat at swheat@discoveryplace.org.

About Discovery Place Science
Discovery Place Science is the leading hub for science learning in the Carolinas—dedicated to the exchange of ideas, scientific exploration and creative expression to stimulate innovative problem-solving and learning. The Museum brings relevant, contemporary science to life through groundbreaking exhibitions, interactive educational programming and hands-on activities. Located in Uptown Charlotte at 301 N. Tryon Street, convenient parking is available in the Museum’s parking deck—the Carol Grotnes Belk Complex—at the corner of Sixth and Church streets. For more information about Discovery Place Science, call 704-372-6261, visit discoveryplace.org, or connect with Discovery Place Science on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About the Arts & Science Council (ASC)
The Arts & Science Council serves as the designated “Office of Cultural Resources” for the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and six suburban towns by providing advocacy, cultural education programs, cultural planning, fundraising, grant making, public art and workshops and training for the cultural community. The organization combines resources from local and state governments with those of the private sector to maximize community impact throughout the cultural sector.

About the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is one of America’s leading urban public libraries, accessible and welcoming to all and serving a community of more than one million citizens in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Through 20 locations, targeted outreach and online, the library delivers exceptional services and programs, with a mission to improve lives and build a stronger community. In short, we strive to be essential to our community.

About Community Building Initiatives (CBI)
Community Building Initiative’s (CBI), https://cbicharlotte.org/, mission is to give people and organizations the knowledge, skills, and courage to fight bias, remove barriers to opportunity and build a more equitable and just Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The acknowledgement and understanding of bias are central to our purpose.

About Confronting Whiteness
Confronting Whiteness is an anti-racist organization committed to educating and training people racialized as white to confront the destructive ideology of whiteness and its impact on individuals and our society. We seek to deepen individuals’ anti-racist practice by inviting them to embark on an intentionally small-group journey of reflection, conversation, and transformation where they learn to see whiteness through the writings and films of black intellectuals, artists, leaders, and creatives and discover how to confront whiteness in their spheres of power and influence. www.confrontingwhiteness.com

About Levine Museum of the New South
Levine Museum of the New South builds a stronger, more equitable community by connecting people to Charlotte and to each other through history, culture and celebration. The Museum’s mission is to use history to realize the promises of a New South – a place of equity, opportunity and justice. They design exhibits and programs to foster empathy, ignite dialogue and inspire action. Recent projects that explore the social and systemic consequences of bias in a historical context include “What Is It Going to Take?” a digital program series created in response to the death of George Floyd. These discussions challenge participants to understand the history and contextualize a range of topics from racism in policing to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.

About Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (RMJJ)
Race Matters for Juvenile Justice is a collaborative leadership group working within the Charlotte community to reduce disproportionality and disparate outcomes for children and families of color through institutional organizing, education and workforce development. RMJJ’s mission is to build a collaboration of community stakeholders who will bring their constituencies to the table and partner in the Court’s effort to reduce disproportionality and disparities.

About United Way of Greater Charlotte
United Way of Greater Charlotte uses collective giving to advance economic mobility and racial equity, primarily through neighborhood-based, grassroots and responsive solutions. For more information, please visit www.unitedwaygreaterCLT.org.