How do you define human?! Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of its official opening on the Mall, the National Museum of Natural History plans to open a new Hall of Human Origins based on decades of cutting-edge research by Smithsonian scientists. Part of its broader “Human Origins: What Does it Mean to be Human?” initiative, the Hall transports visitors through a dramatic time tunnel depicting human life and environments over the past 6 million years. The epic story of human evolution is told through the drama of climate change, and shows how survival and extinction have characterized our ancient human past.
Forensically reconstructed faces of early humans, a display of more than 75 skulls, and an interactive 6 million-year-old family tree are highlights in the Hall. Can’t visit? Not to worry. The Museum and National Geographic are publishing a book, What Does It Mean to be Human?; PBS will air a three-part series later in the year entitled, “Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors;” and the Museum will completely reproduce the exhibition through the Blue Mars virtual world website.
As always, scholars, research and related collections are available to Affiliates for public or school programs, exhibitions, or however you spin your own human story. Interested in collaborating? Contact your outreach manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So come by this spring to meet your ancient ancestors. And be sure to wish them a happy birthday.