Exploring Human Origins Coming to Milpitas Library!

The Milpitas Library is proud to present the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit, Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human? Developed in partnership with the American Library Association and made possible by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and support from the Peter Buck Human Origins Fund (Smithsonian), this exhibit offers the content of the Smithsonian's Hall of Human Origins to communities around the country by bringing this temporary exhibition to Milpitas Library, one of only 19 public libraries across the country, and the only library in California.

This 1,200-square-foot traveling exhibition includes more than 40 educational panels, interactive kiosks, hands-on displays, videos, 3-D skull casts and presentations representing groundbreaking research in the scientific study of human origins. Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human? will highlight key milestones in the journey of human evolution and explain how they developed over time, including walking upright, the earliest known technologies, brain enlargement, symbolic language development, the origin of agriculture, and the creation of complex societies.

The exhibition and its associated public programs, including formal community conversations and science workshops, will engage audiences to explore the wonder of the scientific discoveries concerning human evolution and how these findings connect to diverse personal and societal perspectives about who we are as a species and why it matters. The traveling exhibition appeals to the innate curiosity of all human beings in terms of understanding themselves and their own existence. It aims to engage local communities in the global scientific exploration of how humans have evolved over time, while inviting discussion that connects this exploration to varied societal perspectives about what it means to be human.
 

Calendar of Events

Ongoing events:
Essay Contest: The Milpitas Library, the Milpitas Library Advisory Commission, and the City of Milpitas are proud to announce the 2015 Essay Contest.  Entrants are asked to visit the Exploring Human Origins traveling exhibit in the Milpitas Library between November 25 and December 13. The contest is open to students in grades 4-12 in Milpitas schools, public or private, or homeschooled Milpitas residents. $100 gift card prizes will be awarded to the top ten entries in three categories (grades 4-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-12). Prizes are courtesy of the city of Milpitas. Entries are due by 6pm on December 13.
The Future of Human Evolution: Will humans of the future evolve to have wings? Gills? Super-strength? Huge brains? Children can draw how they think humans will evolve in the future. Take your pictures home or let us put it on our art wall or social media sites! During all open hours. Crayons and paper provided. Group Study Room A.
 
Wednesday, November 25:
Exhibit Opens

Sunday, November 29 at 2:00 p.m.
“Your Inner Fish” Documentary: Have you ever wondered why the human body looks the way it does? Why we walk on two legs instead of four? Why we can see in color but have a lousy sense of smell? Your Inner Fish delves deep into the past to answer questions like these. The three-part series reveals a startling truth: Hidden within the human body is a story of life on Earth. Based on a best-selling book by evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, this scientific adventure story takes viewers from Ethiopia to the Arctic Circle on a hunt for the many ways that our animal ancestors shaped our anatomical destiny. Shubin has spent much of his life studying our ancient ancestors----searching for the deep pedigree of Homo sapiens. Using both the fossil record and DNA evidence, he traces various parts of our body's structure to creatures that lived long, long ago. The series is both an epic saga and a modern-day detective story - by turns surprising, funny, and deeply profound. Come face-to-face with your "inner fish" in this completely new take on the human body: You'll never look at yourself in quite the same way again!
NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Tuesday, December 1 at 7:00 p.m.
Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean To Be Human?: How can scientific discoveries on human evolution connect with larger understandings of what it means to be human? Join Dr. Rick Potts, paleoanthropologist and curator of the traveling exhibit, as he explores the main themes and messages of the traveling exhibit in a program for the general public. The talk and following conversation will explore how fossils, archeological remains, and genetic studies shed light on our connection with the natural world and the origins of sharing, caring, and innovation. 
NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Wednesday, December 2 at 4:00 p.m.Paleoanthropologist Briana Pobiner
Clergy Tour and Discussion: This is a dedicated time for clergy to view the exhibit. Dr. Rick Potts and Dr. Briana Pobiner, Smithsonian paleoanthropologists, will join the clergy in the exhibit space to discuss any questions clergy may have about the exhibit’s presentation of the science of human origins. The co-chairs of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program’s Broader Social Impacts Committee, Dr. Connie Bertka and Dr. Jim Miller, will facilitate a discussion among the attending clergy regarding questions the exhibit may raise for their religious communities. Please email mimngr@sccl.org to register for this program.

Wednesday, December 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Exploring the Meanings of Human Evolution: A Community Conversation: How do scientific discoveries about human origins relate to people’s personal understanding of the world and their place in it? Join Drs. Connie Bertka and Jim Miller, co-chairs of the Smithsonian Institution’s Broader Social Impacts Committee, as they encourage a community conversation about human evolution that helps us to understand each other’s perspectives, to identify areas of common interest or concern, and to explore the variety of ways human evolution connects to personal meaning. They will be joined by Drs. Rick Potts and Briana Pobiner from the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program.
NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Thursday, December 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Educators Workshop on Teaching Human Evolution: Dr. Briana Pobiner, who leads the Human Origins Program's education and outreach efforts, and Dr. Connie Bertka, co-chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s Broader Social Impacts Committee, will present a workshop on human evolution for science educators. The workshop is for classroom teachers; science, nature center, and museum educators; homeschoolers; and other local educators. It will feature exploration and hands-on practice in presenting the Human Origins Program resources provided for each community. These resources include a set of five early human skull casts with an accompanying classroom activity, classroom-tested, high-school biology teaching units on "What Does It Mean to Be Human?", and a Cultural and Religious Sensitivity (CRS) Teaching Strategies Resource. Please email mimngr@sccl.org to register for this program.


Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m.
Poetry Workshop: Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, David Perez, leads a poetry composition workshop. The workshop coincides with the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit. David will provide the exercises to help participants use poetry to explore what it means to be human. All who attend the workshop are invited to share their work at an open mic on Wednesday, December 9 at 7pm, also at the library. NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.
 
Saturday, December 5 at 2:00 p.m.
Evolutionary Baggage and Our Health at Milpitas Library: Our bodies are the result of millions of years of evolution. Evolution does not toss out previous blueprints of life, but rather builds upon what has already evolved. Thus, our bodies are modified from our last common ancestors with the apes and monkeys. In this talk, Dr. Elizabeth Weiss, a Professor of Anthropology at San Jose State University, will review which modern health problems can be linked to a misfit between our modern environment and lifestyle and our evolutionary history.
NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.
 
Sunday, December 6 at 2:00 p.m.
"Becoming Human" Documentary: Documentary Screening: Nothing is more fascinating to us than, well, us. Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives—putting together the pieces of our human past and transforming our understanding of our earliest ancestors. Featuring interviews with world-renowned scientists, each hour unfolds with a CSI-like forensic investigation into the life and death of a specific hominid ancestor. The programs were shot "in the trenches" where discoveries were unearthed throughout Africa and Europe. Dry bones spring back to life with stunning computer-generated animation and prosthetics. Fossils not only give us clues to what early hominids looked like, but, with the aid of ingenious new lab techniques, how they lived and how we became the creative, thinking humans of today.
NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.
 
Tuesday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m.
What’s It Like to Be a Paleoanthropologist?  Dr. Elizabeth Weiss, a Professor of Anthropology at San Jose State University, will share her first-hand experiences as a student in the Leakey Foundation’s Koobi Fora Field School in Kenya. Come and learn about the challenges and rewards of looking for our human origins.
NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Wednesday, December 9 at 4:00 p.m.
Cave Art for Kids!: Children of all ages will learn about early man and art. They will then create their own cave drawings. Materials provided. NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Wednesday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Poetry Reading: What Does It Mean to Be Human?: Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, David Perez, joins South Bay Poets Evelyn So, Arlene Biala, Vuong Vu, and Mark Heinlein to share poetry on the theme of Human Origins. David will also host an open mic, encouraging all poets and writers to share work that examines what it means to be human. If you would like to attend, consider joining David's workshop on Thursday, December 3rd at 6pm, also at the library.
 
NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Sunday, December 13 at 2:00 p.m.
"Journey of Man" Documentary: Documentary Screening: How did the human race populate the world? A group of geneticists have worked on the question for a decade, arriving at a startling conclusion: the "global family tree" can be traced to one African man who lived 60,000 years ago. Dr. Spencer Wells hosts this innovative series, featuring commentary by expert scientists, historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists.
NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Wednesday, December 16 at 4:00 p.m.
Cave Art for Kids!: Children of all ages will learn about early man and art. They will then create their own cave drawings. Materials provided. NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.
 
Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Book Group Discussion:  Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin: The Milpitas Book Discussion Group discusses Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body. All are welcome to come and discover this book with us. Why do we look the way we do? What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly? Are breasts, sweat glands, and scales connected in some way? To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today's most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources: worms, flies, and even fish. Shubin's book tells the story of evolution by tracing the organs of the human body back millions of years, long before the first creatures walked the earth. By examining fossils and DNA, Shubin shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our head is organized like that of a long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genome look and function like those of worms and bacteria. NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.


Saturday, December 19 at 11:00 a.m.
Monkey or Ape?: An education presentation given by a scientist from the Leakey Foundation! Children will learn about the differences between monkeys and apes. In our auditorium. NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Saturday, December 19 at 2:00 p.m.
Beyond Creation and Evolution: Human Origins Studies in a Secular, Media-Saturated World: Religion and science battled through the Renaissance and Age of Reason. In this struggle, science overcame, and the discovery of evolution by means of natural selection and speciation (nicely coincident with the discovery of the human fossil record) has been cast as the long-sought, final proof of a naturalistic human essence. Now there are different, bigger dangers looming that we can address with the science of human origins. What is the use of the fossil record in this new time, and how do we approach it? Can the empirical reality of the human fossil record bring people together in a world of increasing extremism? The fossil record is real, and studying these fossils to illuminate human origins has the potential to go on forever as long as fossils continue to be found, curated, and preserved. Speaker: Dr. Henry Gilbert from the Leakey Foundation. NOTE: Free and open to the public. In our Auditorium.

Sunday, December 20 at 1:00 p.m.
Closing Ceremony
Essay Contest Winners Announced

Tuesday, December 22
Last Day of the Exhibit

The Milpitas Library is located at 160 N Main St., Milpitas CA 95035. For more information, please call 408-262-1171.


Programs at other locations:

Monday, November 2 at 7:00pm, BlueLight Cinemas: 21275 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino CA
“Your Inner Fish” Documentary: Have you ever wondered why the human body looks the way it does? Why we walk on two legs instead of four? Why we can see in color but have a lousy sense of smell? Your Inner Fish delves deep into the past to answer questions like these. The three-part series reveals a startling truth: Hidden within the human body is a story of life on Earth. Based on a best-selling book by evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, this scientific adventure story takes viewers from Ethiopia to the Arctic Circle on a hunt for the many ways that our animal ancestors shaped our anatomical destiny. Shubin has spent much of his life studying our ancient ancestors----searching for the deep pedigree of Homo sapiens. Using both the fossil record and DNA evidence, he traces various parts of our body's structure to creatures that lived long, long ago. The series is both an epic saga and a modern-day detective story - by turns surprising, funny, and deeply profound. Come face-to-face with your "inner fish" in this completely new take on the human body: You'll never look at yourself in quite the same way again!

Monday, November 9 at 7:00pm, BlueLight Cinemas: 21275 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino CA
"Journey of Man" Documentary: Documentary Screening: How did the human race populate the world? A group of geneticists have worked on the question for a decade, arriving at a startling conclusion: the "global family tree" can be traced to one African man who lived 60,000 years ago. Dr. Spencer Wells hosts this innovative series, featuring commentary by expert scientists, historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists.

Monday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m., Los Altos Library
What’s It Like to Be a Paleoanthropologist?  Dr. Elizabeth Weiss, a Professor of Anthropology at San Jose State University, will share her first-hand experiences as a student in the Leakey Foundation’s Koobi Fora Field School in Kenya. Come and learn about the challenges and rewards of looking for our human origins. NOTE: Free and open to the public. The Los Altos Library is located at 13 S. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos, CA 94022.

Monday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m., Los Altos Library

Evolutionary Baggage and Our Health: Our bodies are the result of millions of years of evolution. Evolution does not toss out previous blueprints of life, but rather builds upon what has already evolved. Thus, our bodies are modified from our last common ancestors with the apes and monkeys. In this talk, Dr. Elizabeth Weiss, a Professor of Anthropology at San Jose State University, will review which modern health problems can be linked to a misfit between our modern environment and lifestyle and our evolutionary history. Note: Free and open to the public. The Los Altos Library is located at 13 S. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos, CA 94022.

Monday, November 16 at 7:00pm, BlueLight Cinemas: 21275 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino CA 95014
"Becoming Human" Documentary: Documentary Screening: Nothing is more fascinating to us than, well, us. Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives—putting together the pieces of our human past and transforming our understanding of our earliest ancestors. Featuring interviews with world-renowned scientists, each hour unfolds with a CSI-like forensic investigation into the life and death of a specific hominid ancestor. The programs were shot "in the trenches" where discoveries were unearthed throughout Africa and Europe. Dry bones spring back to life with stunning computer-generated animation and prosthetics. Fossils not only give us clues to what early hominids looked like, but, with the aid of ingenious new lab techniques, how they lived and how we became the creative, thinking humans of today.

Saturday, November 21, 2pm at Campbell Library
Campbell Library will have a drop-in event for kids ages 4 and up, along with their grown-ups, featuring activities focused on the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit "What Does It Mean to Be Human?" featured at the Milpitas Library. Explore and learn about Lucy - a member of the species Australopithecus afarensis who lived 3.2 million years ago, share a note or drawing on our cave wall on what it means to be human, and make your own fossil! The Campbell Library is located at 77 Harrison Ave., Campbell CA 95008.

Monday, November 30, 7:30pm at Saratoga Library
Book Group Discussion: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler  Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award, this novel tells the story of an American family, middle class in middle America, ordinary in every way but one. But that exception is the beating heart of this extraordinary novel, asking the question "What does it mean to be human?"  The Saratoga Library is located at 13650 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga CA 95070.


Tuesday, December 8, 6pm at Gilroy Library
"Journey of Man" Documentary: Documentary Screening: How did the human race populate the world? A group of geneticists have worked on the question for a decade, arriving at a startling conclusion: the "global family tree" can be traced to one African man who lived 60,000 years ago. Dr. Spencer Wells hosts this innovative series, featuring commentary by expert scientists, historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists. The Gilroy Library is located at 350 W 6th St., Gilroy CA 95020.

Press info: Human-Origins-Resources-(1).docx

Comments
Michael
This looks like a great exhibit, and The Smithsonian always does a first-class job, so we're excited to travel to Milpitas to see this.
12/1/2015 2:49:15 PM

god not bee
Violet e. Overpreach
I cant tell if you are an ancient alien theorist of a religious nut. I would love to see your scientific reference on the true origin of humans. Seems to me that any one who gets there morality from an imaginary friend in the sky truly has there head in the clouds.
my thanks to the Smithsonian Institution and milpitas for being one of the lucky few to win the drawl for this wonderful event. i will try to attend every event with all my children and there friends so they can learn the true origin of humans.
11/25/2015 7:22:25 AM

Dharani
We are extremely exited to attend,,,Exploring Human Origins Exhibit.
I Love Milpitas library.

Thanks
Dharani
11/22/2015 4:59:55 PM

Violet e. Oropeza
It is distrubing to see that with all of the recent scientific evidence debunking the therory of evolution that the Smithsonian Institute would sponsor the Origins of Man Exhibit. Even more so that the well-educated speakers would
embarrassed themselves with such nonsense. Unfortunately, our government, media, and educational system want us to believe we are nothing but the product of chance (which is not science). If we have nothing to base our humanity then why bother with morals, ethics, or the sanctity of life. The latter is on the hatching block as we now have assisted sucide in California and women that chose to end the lives of their unborn babies. Yes, evolution has everything to do with the value of human life.
11/1/2015 1:36:56 PM

Jyoti
Way to go Milpitas! Thanks for bringing this event to not only the city but the entire county...
10/10/2015 10:04:27 AM

Stephen Fitzgerald
Thanks for the kind words Debashree - we're excited too!
10/9/2015 5:36:22 PM

Debashree
Wow!! Reading about the great exhibit coming to our library is exciting and makes me feel proud to be a Milpitas resident.
I am looking forward to visiting the exhibit with my family.
Keep up the good work!!
10/8/2015 6:18:55 PM

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