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Texas is not a human evolution desert! Presenting human evolution to the public through museum displays

Authors
  • Smith, Shelley L.1
  • 1 University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, 76019, USA , Arlington (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Evolution: Education and Outreach
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Feb 18, 2020
Volume
13
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12052-020-00117-9
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Texas is home to four of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. As would be expected, several large universities in Texas, public and private, offer courses in which the topic of human evolution is covered. What might be more surprising to some, given the politics of the state, is that two major Texas public museums (the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas) display substantial human evolution content. Here I review content related to human evolution in five major science museums in Texas and explore the reasons for the differences among these museums. Among the most important factors are money, museum location, museum history and mission, and what can be called “intentionality.” Unsurprisingly, if we want to see more human evolution museum displays, we must convince museum administrators that adding this content is consistent with their mission and will attract more visitors. We (and our students) can, in addition, be more proactive in reaching out to our local museums.

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