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Smithsonian exhibition on implicit bias coming to Huntsville in April

Published on March 2, 2023

The City of Huntsville announced it will host “The Bias Inside Us” from April 24 through May 20, at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (915 Monroe St., Huntsville, AL 35801).

“The Bias Inside Us” is a traveling exhibition that will discuss the social science and psychology of implicit bias, the impact of this bias and what people can do about it. Through compelling images, hands-on interactives and powerful testimonials and videos, the exhibition unpacks and demystifies the concept of bias. The community engagement project is part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), which features six sections: Introduction, The Science of Bias, Bias in Real Life, Serious Consequences – Bias is All Around Us, #RetrainYourBrain and Personal Reflection.

Visiting “The Bias Inside Us” is free. This appearance marks the first time the exhibition will visit the state of Alabama. Visitors will participate in a self-guided tour exploring the foundational blocks of bias, the psychology of how bias forms and how it influences behaviors both consciously and unconsciously.

The exhibit, a partnership with the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library with additional support from HudsonAlpha and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. Each Tuesday, the exhibit will remain open until 7 p.m.

“The City of Huntsville is excited to help host ‘The Bias Inside Us,’ a Smithsonian exhibition that will spark thoughtful conversations that inspire and challenge us to build a better community and world,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “As the largest municipality in Alabama and the U.S. News and World Report’s #1 City in the United States to live in, we are fortunate to be the first in the state to host this traveling exhibit. We are hopeful our community will embrace the exhibition and use the experience to help us create a more just, equitable city.”

Interactive elements will 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. 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.

Major support for “The Bias Inside Us” is provided by the Otto Bremer Trust. Meta is the local sponsor of the exhibition. Additional support is 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 exhibit description and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

A graphic depicting the logo for the Bias Inside Us exhibit and different sponsor logos for the public library, HudsonAlpha, City of Huntsville and UAH