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Skin has a number of impressive features: it’s shape shifting, color changing and highly adaptive. But it’s also thought provoking, interaction changing and extremely personal.

The exhibition aims to inspire wonder and curiosity about this uniquely complex organ, illustrate the incredibly adaptive properties of skin across all organisms, and spark dialogue and reflection about skin’s role in shaping human culture and identity.

This exhibition is included with Science Museum admission and will be open April 30, 2022–January 15, 2023.

Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity is sponsored locally by Dermatology Associates of Virginia, Patient First and Richmond Dermatology.


About the Exhibition

In this bilingual, interactive exhibition, guests will explore the physical and philosophical properties of skin. The exhibition features dozens of scientific specimens that showcase the adaptive properties of skin in animals, including its ability to support and regenerate keratin-based structures like armored scales, aerodynamic feathers and insulating fur. The exhibition then dives deeper to explore how evolution has shaped diversity in human skin, and how much we still have yet to uncover about the underlying genetics of skin color.

The exhibition presents the topics of racism, prejudice, and discrimination through the lenses of history and science. Guests will investigate the layers of meaning humans have associated with skin color throughout history and how our ever-evolving social and political climate has influenced shifting ideas of race and culture in our modern world.


Additional Programing

The Science Museum supports touring exhibitions with complementary programming meant to deepen the experience for guests and explore topics introduced in the exhibition in unexpected ways.

During the display of Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity, guests can enjoy:

  • A Science After Dark in May with activities themed to celebrate the way our bodies (and skin) make music!
  • Hands-on experiences throughout the building about the sense of touch, skin under a microscope, animals that shed their skin and more.
  • Maker Workshops and Maker Challenges in The Forge about animal armor and temporary tattoos.
  • Lunch Break Science presentations from experts in various fields related to the exhibition.
  • Animal texture rubbing boards to design colorful creatures in the Art Lab.
  • Demos about making body scrubs, body butter and lip balm in Boost.
  • A Science Museum-curated exhibition that celebrates the art and science of tattooing and Richmond’s tattooed culture (scheduled to open this fall).

And more! Check our website often for details and schedule times:

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