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Museum displays thrifted objects to examine prejudice

The Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center offers a variety of displays for visitors to learn from, including one about the ways people think about race and skin color.


WENATCHEE — Consider the flesh-colored crayons in an exhibit at the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center (WVMCC): from 1903 the pinkish brown is the only flesh tint, which was renamed "pink beige" in 1949 and then renamed "peach." It wasn't until 1992 that Crayola launched the first multicultural colors to represent a wider range of skin colors. And what of the burnt sienna color called Indian Red? Could something so seemingly innocuous be reinforcing prejudice?

Showing through March, the current "Sorting Out Race" exhibit came to the WVMCC from the Kauffman Museum at Bethel College in Kansas. The items were not curated from a traditional museum collection, but rather picked up from thrift stores along the way.

WVMCC Curator of Exhibits Kasey Koski said it is "a really wonderful, approachable concept for an exhibit on race" because no one is put in possession of things or put on the spot. She said, "There's a lot of examples of seemingly really innocent things that maybe we could stop this flow of caricatures and such if we considered sorting these things out."

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