Tuesday, June 26 the Museum will close to the public at 4:30 p.m. due to a special event. More


Race: Are We So Different?

It’s a simple truth. 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.

The idea of “race” has been used historically to describe these differences and justify mistreatment of people and even genocide. Today, contemporary scientific understanding of human variation is beginning to challenge “racial” differences, and even question the very concept of race.

Race, developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, is the first national exhibition to tell the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view. Combining these perspectives offers an unprecedented look at race and racism in the United States.

The Details


Until July 15, 2018

Included in


Special Exhibition Wing

The Exhibition Experience

Race brings together the everyday experience of living with race, its history as an idea, the role of science in that history, and the findings of contemporary science that are challenging its foundations. It is an exhibition with three themes:

The History

This area details the history of race in the United States as a set of beliefs and social practices that were taken up by law and science and then developed a system that justified slavery and unequal treatment of others. Through a set of historical vignettes, RACE will explore how this belief system in its various forms has shaped the history of this country and society.

The Science

Visitors can explore our common human ancestry, learn about the continuum of human variation, question common notions of race as discrete biological groups, and investigate the past and current science behind human variation.

Race in Contemporary Life

RACE will explore social and personal experiences of race in familiar contexts such as our communities, schools, doctor’s offices, the legal system, and marketplaces. The exhibition will explore how race affects nearly every social institution in our lives and how these social settings frame our personal experiences of race.

Supporting the Conversation

In a sense, the story of race is the story of the United States. Every community, every state, every person in this country is part of a system in which race has played a key role.

Even a half-century after civil rights pioneers began the national conversation about race, there is still no other topic more visceral and more vital. This is why RACE is so important right now. As credible local institutions, museums, and science centers can offer their community members a safe space in which to explore the natural and social science perspectives of race. Learn more about the project at


Educator Program – Deepening Our Understanding: Race and Racism in American Life

Public Programs – Civic Talks



Included with General Admission





(Ages 65+)



(13-22 with ID)



(Free for ages 12 and younger)

Buy Tickets Online

*Illinois Resident Children under 18 are FREE

City of Chicago residents receive a $2 discount (with valid I.D.)

*Non-Illinois Resident Children 12 and under are FREE

Learn about our backpack & large bag policy.


Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter!

Get updates on what’s happening at the Chicago History Museum from exhibitions and programs to special events and more.

What interests you most? Select all that apply.