Friday, December 3, 2010

Brain: The Inside Story at American Museum of Natural History

I just checked out the newest exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History here in New York, Brain: The Inside Story.

The exhibition is running now through August 14, 2011 and is definitely worth a visit. You enter the exhibition through a tunnel housing a stunning art installation of lights designed to replicate the firing neurons of a brain. This was definitely a “wow” moment that serves to pull you further into the exhibit. The exhibition includes images of brain scans, artistic interpretations of various elements of the brain, as well as a number of interactive components demonstrating how areas of the brain work. My family and I had fun attempting to trace a star while looking at our hands in a mirror, comparing our ability to read color words written in the same color as their meaning (e.g., “blue” written in blue) versus those that are not (e.g., “blue” written in red), and trying to replicate the pronunciation of words and phrases spoken in a variety of languages. The exhibition takes you through your “Sensing” brain, highlighting the 5 senses; the “Emotional” brain, comparing human emotions with those of other animals; the “Thinking” brain, examining language, memory, and problem-solving; the “Changing” brain, outlining human brain development from infancy though old age; and the “21st Century” brain, exploring where brain research and science are going. I was excited to find a number of connections to our work here at the Yellin Center, specifically, in their discussions of the various parts of memory, the links between memory and language, the role of attention and executive functioning, and the ability to actually strengthen areas of the brain, particularly memory.

The Museum also offers a number of upcoming programs to accompany the exhibition. We’re excited to check out “Brain Fest” on January 14!

Watch a video preview of the exhibition below.

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