Smithsonian exhibit at Cape Fear Museum educates about biases

The Cape Fear Museum of History and Science is hosting a traveling Smithsonian exhibition called “The Bias Inside Us.”
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 7:50 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Cape Fear Museum of History and Science is hosting a traveling Smithsonian exhibition called “The Bias Inside Us.” The exhibit will only be running through Sunday, so those wanting to experience it will have to act quickly.

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.

The exhibit raises awareness about the social science and psychology of implicit bias, the impact of this bias and what people can do about it. It has many visual aspects to it, including videos and hands-on learning experiences.

It can be hard to overcome bias when it’s embedded all around us. For those who have ever wondered why their brains and individual behaviors have specific biases about one thing or another, then this exhibit will be a great learning experience.

Jan Davidson, Cape Fear Museum historian, explained what she wants people to take away from this exhibit.

“This exhibit doesn’t want to leave you just saying, ‘oh our brains create bias and there’s nothing that we can do about it,’ it shows that if you think about it if you figure out how to catch yourself with those biases and if your community is willing to stand up and face the consequences of them, you can make a difference,” Davidson said.

We can’t help creating biases in our heads because they begin to form while in the womb. At just a few hours old, newborn infants already prefer listening to a language that they heard in the womb over an unfamiliar language. But there is a way to be aware of biases and there’s always room for change.

“Understanding bias and ideas about racism and other discriminatory behaviors are things that we, as a society, have sort of looked at maybe a little more closely over the last few years. So, it seemed really relevant to our community, and we know that people here are interested in understanding the past and how they can change,” said Davidson.

Davidson believes that the Cape Fear Museum was the perfect location for the exhibit given Wilmington’s history. The community has proven that they want change and learning how our brains and individual behaviors work is just the first step.

The Cape Fear Museum of History and Science is located at 814 Market Street and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Standard admission prices are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students and military with valid ID. $5 for children ages 6-17, and free admission for children 5 and under. Members of the museum also receive free admission.

For more information, visit the museum’s website or view the exhibit virtually.