The Exhibit

Is race the color of your skin? Is it the texture of your hair? The shape of your eyes? Is it in your genes?


Is race even real?

Race: Are We So Different? explains the origins of race and racism, and helps us understand how to deal with them in productive, enlightening ways.

Most of what we think about race is based on myth, folklore, or assumptions unsupported by genetics or biology. No one is free of misunderstandings about race, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Come join us for an eye-opening look at human nature and biology. You’ll leave transformed.

The Museum of Us is a place where dialogue, learning, and exchange forge understanding and personal connections. That’s why — after an initial temporary exhibition — we later permanently installed this award-winning exhibit created by the American Anthropological Association and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

It’s now a platform to engage schools and teachers, the general public, and other groups, in feeling, thinking, acting, and reflecting on race and identity, and to raise awareness, build community, and positively impact the ways in which we treat each other.



How do others see you? Who controls representation?


kid-bustsIn this special addition to our Race exhibit, three busts are on display. They were part of thirty originally created for an exhibit on race that appeared at this museum when it first opened in 1915.

All we know today about the people who served as models are their names, ages, and assigned races. We wish we knew them better. They did not get a chance to tell their stories.

A woven section of the exhibit, designed by Shinpei Takeda.

A woven section of the exhibit, designed by Shinpei Takeda.

One hundred years later, we had new portraits made for a new exhibit, and this time around, the models speak for themselves. We took six of the 1915 busts to three San Diego neighborhoods in order to start a conversation about how race and labels relate to who we are today.

We asked our neighbors to think about how they wanted to represent themselves. These self-portraits are the result.

Inter+FACE is a partnership between the AjA Project and the Museum of Us that uses participatory photography and community dialogue to explore how race, representation, and identity have been experienced in both past and present San Diego.

The AjA Project harnesses the power of photography to change lives and transform communities. They believe that individuals and communities become stronger and more resilient when people have the tools to communicate their perspectives, articulate their goals, and aspire to great things.