Scientific discoveries about human origins influence how we understand the world and our place in it. While cultural and religious differences exist, the milestones in the evolutionary journey to becoming human shape the unique position we as humans hold in the history of life.
The Smithsonian’s national traveling exhibit, Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human?, invites audiences to discover what we know about human evolution and how we know it. Visitors may view replicas and images from the Smithsonian’s popular human origins exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History. Experience more than 40 educational panels, interactive kiosks, hands-on displays, videos, 3D skull casts, and a large reproduction bronze statue.
To explore the science and meaning behind human origins, the Spokane County Library District presents a selection of programs: from a class about what could be the next big revolution in food production and community conversations about human evolution led by Smithsonian scientists, to exploring the wonders of the modern brain and learning about Stone Age survival techniques. Discover for yourself what it means to be human.
Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean To Be Human?
Exploring the Meanings of Human Evolution: A Community Conversation
Stone Age Survival: How and Why Humans First Used Tools
Salish Language and Culture
Brain Evolution: Neuropsychology with Dr. Christine Guzzardo
Early Americans: Paleoanthropology with Jim Chatters
Waiter, there’s NO fly in my soup!
Born to Learn: Brain Science and Early Learning
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Your Inner Fish Part 3: Your Inner Monkey
Our Genes Aren’t Blue
Paint Like a Caveman
How can scientific discoveries on human evolution connect with larger understandings of what it means to be human? Dr. Rick Potts, paleoanthropologist and curator of the traveling exhibit, defines the main themes and messages of Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean To Be Human?. Explore how fossils, archeological remains, and genetic studies all shed light on our connection with the natural world.
North Spokane | Tuesday, Jan 5, 7pm
Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human? is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. This project is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and support from the Peter Buck Human Origins Fund.
How do scientific discoveries about human origins relate to people’s personal understanding of the world and their place in it? Dr. Connie Bertka and Dr. Jim Miller, committee co-chairs of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program, lead an engaging community conversation about human evolution. The conversation is designed to help us understand each other’s perspectives, to identify areas of common interest or concern, and to explore how human evolution connects to personal meaning.
North Spokane | Wednesday, Jan 6, 7pm
Early tool technologies provide a unique perspective for looking at the creative behavior of our human ancestors. In this hands-on workshop, Spokane Falls Community College anthropologist Teri Tucker presents compelling facts about the technologies, dexterity, particular kinds of mental skills, and innovations that were within the grasp of early human toolmakers.
Moran Prairie | Monday, Jan 11, 6:30pm
Argonne | Tuesday, Jan 19, 6:30pm
North Spokane | Monday, Feb 1, 6:30pm
Immerse yourself in the language and culture of the Pacific Northwest’s indigenous people. Enjoy traditional and contemporary Salish language songs and skits performed by the Salish School of Spokane. Plus, learn how to say some basic Salish words and phrases.
North Spokane | Thursday, Jan 14, 6:30pm
Explore the wonders of the modern brain and learn how to separate fact from fiction. Clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Christine Guzzardo presents a brief overview of the evolution of the brain from prehistoric people to modern times.
North Spokane | Wednesday, Jan 20, 6:30pm
Discover what scientists have learned about early Americans through archeological findings and research. Paleoanthropologist Jim Chatters—the first scientist to excavate and study Kennewick Man—presents about his recent work studying Naia, the ancient skeletal remains of a teenage girl discovered in an underwater cave on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.
North Spokane | Sunday, Jan 24, 2pm
Have you ever swallowed a bug? More than 80 percent of the world’s cultures eat insects—why don’t we? According to the United Nations, insects could very well be the food of the future. Raising grasshoppers as a food source could combat world hunger and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 60 percent. Join David Gordon, the author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook for an adventure in entomophagy (eating bugs), and prepare yourself for the next big revolution in food production—using crickets, mealworms, and other eco-friendly alternatives to meat. Plus, enjoy free samples of edible insect snacks.
Argonne | Wednesday, Jan 27, 6:30pm
North Spokane | Thursday, Jan 28, 6:30pm
New imaging technology allows scientists to see the brain in action: how it grows, how it acts, and how it reacts. This documentary explores the fascinating science behind brain development and early learning. Some of the world’s leading experts on the subject reveal what is actually going on in a baby’s brain. Born to Learn is part of the KSPS Kids Forward Initiative on Early Learning.
Spokane Valley | Thursday, Jan 7, 6:30pm
Deer Park | Wednesday, Jan 27, 6:30pm
Airway Heights | Sunday, Jan 31, 2pm
Travel to Chauvet Cave, home to the most pictorial art ever discovered, with this Werner Herzog documentary. The film provides a unique view of nearly inaccessible, pristine works dating back 30,000 years. Tap into your wonder and curiosity with this look into the very beginning of human culture.
Cheney | Sunday, Jan 10, 2pm
Otis Orchards | Tuesday, Jan 26 6pm
“Inside every organ, gene and cell in our body lie deep connections with the rest of life on our planet,” observes Paleobiologist Neil Shubin. In this PBS documentary, Shubin explains how many aspects of our form and function have evolved. We learn that a genetic mutation in our primate ancestors conferred humans’ ability to see in color, but it was an advantage that led to a decline in our sense of smell. Shubin concludes by tracing the evolution of the human brain—from a tiny swelling on the nerve cord of a wormlike creature, to the three-part architecture of a shark’s brain and the complex brain of primates.
Medical Lake | Wednesday, Jan 20, 6pm
Fairfield | Saturday, Jan 23, 11am
What makes us human and makes you, well, you? Hint: it’s in your DNA. Discover what you and an onion have in common with this fun, hands-on class from Mobius Science Center.
For grades K–8. Children under 6 must bring an adult.
Airway Heights | Tuesday, Jan 12, 4–5:30pm
Argonne | Monday, Feb 1, 4–5:30pm
Cheney | Monday, Feb 29, 4–5:30pm
Deer Park | Monday, Feb 22, 4–5:30pm
Fairfield | Tuesday, Feb 16, 4–5:30pm
Medical Lake | Monday, Feb 8, 4–5:30pm
Moran Prairie | Monday, Jan 25, 4–5:30pm
North Spokane | Tuesday, Jan 26, 4–5:30pm
Otis Orchards | Tuesday, Jan 19, 4–5:30pm
Spokane Valley | Monday, Jan 11, 4–5:30pm
Did you know that children found some of the oldest cave paintings ever? Learn about the very first artists in the world, how they were discovered in modern times, and try your hand at creating pictures of prehistoric animals—caveman style!
For grades K–5. Children under 6 must bring an adult.
North Spokane | Thursday, Jan 21, 4–5pm