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Norwich exhibit helps explore our human origins

By Sidney Bond-Cavenagh and Frank Abreau

NORWICH -- Who are we? Why are we here?

These questions are explored in the Smithsonian traveling exhibit Human Origins What It Means To Be Human.

Otis Library in Norwich was one of the 19 public libraries in the country to feature the exhibit. It explores the past of humans and their relationship with the natural world using 40 education panels, interactive kiosks, hands on displays, videos, 3-D skull casts, and presentations.

Diane Deedy, Otis Library Youth Services Librarian,  helped bring the exhibits to Norwich. "There's a lot of science here and we make sure science is a main  component of it. But I was trying to get the students to really think about the big question which is what does it need to be human."

John Gurche is the artist for the skull casts, and authored the book, "Shaping Humanity," appeared at the exhibit and talked about the significance of our past. "I think it's important to know it's done in the name of understanding ourselves."

Viewers are given the opportunity to post their views about what they think it means to be human and a large shared bulletin board. The display is meant to serve as one part of a larger national conversation about the evolution of human beings. "The question of what does it mean to be human seems to be pretty simple. But once you start thinking about it you realize how vast and complex it is and it really generates more questions than answers," said Deedy.

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