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New American Museum of Natural History Exhibition, The Nature of Color, Opens March 9

Color is all around us, woven so tightly into our lives that we rarely stop to question what it is and how it works. Where do the colors in diamonds and rainbows come from? How have some animals benefited by evolving to stand out, while others survive by blending in? Why do some colors make us happy while others make us, well, blue? How did pink come to be associated with femininity in Western culture after centuries of being considered suitable for all? The Nature of Color, a new exhibition opening at the American Museum of Natural History this spring, reveals how color carries information in nature—where organisms use it to find food, warn off predators, and conceal or reveal themselves—and across cultures, where different colors can signal a wide range of meanings, from good luck to power to a sense of urgency.

This fun, family-friendly exhibition features models, cultural objects, media, and interactive exhibits that will invite visitors to play and experiment while exploring the science of color, how it makes us feel, how it is perceived across cultures, the history of color production, and how plants and animals use color to help them survive and reproduce. Visitors will explore the physics of color in an immersive color-changing room and a light lab with hands-on activities to discover that white light is actually a mixture of colors; play a game show interactive—on kiosks or from their mobile devices—that examines how colors affect emotions, alertness, perception of time, appetite, and much more; and “paint” without the mess in a floor-to-ceiling color play interactive just by moving their hands.

Visitors also will come face to face with three live species that rely on their unique coloration for survival: the leaf-tailed gecko, which evolved to blend in with dried leaves and tree bark; the golden poison frog, among the most colorful creatures on Earth, whose skin contains a deadly poison traditionally used in hunting darts; and iridescent blue beetles. A section on making color will explore the rich history of blue pigments in particular, with objects from the Museum’s anthropological collection and an interactive that will demonstrate the process of dying indigo fabric, which was used to create the dark blue hues of Japanese artwork, African textiles, and the first blue jeans. Several hands-on interactives will explore the many ways in which objects can produce color. And a variety of striking exhibits will demonstrate how the meaning of certain colors can vary greatly when used for special occasions, as identity markers, as symbols for nations, teams, communities, and more.

As part of the exhibition, the Museum will feature an installation of portraits by Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass. Her work showcases the diversity of human skin tones, challenging socially constructed racial categories and celebrating the beauty and diversity of humans from around the world.

The Nature of Color is curated by Rob DeSalle, a curator in the Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology whose recent exhibitions include Our Senses: An Immersive Experience, and Brain: The Inside Story.

The Nature of Colorwill open to the public on Monday, March 9, 2020. Museum Members will be able to preview the exhibition starting on Friday, March 6, through Sunday, March 8.

A trailer about The Nature of Color can be seen here.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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