As part of its 150th anniversary celebrations, the American Museum of Natural History is putting on one of its most colorful exhibitions to date; exploring the role of color in nature, human cultures and our personal lives.

Portraits of humans with different skin tones
Nature of Color at the American Museum of Natural History will change how you look at the world (Pictured: Humanae by Angélica Dass) © Angélica Dass/D. Finnin/ AMNH

The Nature of Color, opening on 9 March, will have you questioning things you probably take for granted. For instance, why do some colors make us feel calm while others make us feel sad? Why do some animals use color to stand out? Why do colors have different meanings in different cultures? Where does the color purple come from in nature? And why do we associate it with power?

Red costumes representing sport, fashion and religion on display in museum gallery
In the red room, visitors will find out how colors can create shared identity ©D. Finnin/ AMNH

All these questions and more will be answered at this family-friendly exhibition in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. At the very least, a visit here will help you with your pub quiz game (so many useful facts and insights) but at the most, it will challenge how you look at the world. It may even make it more interesting.

Children experiment with light color displays
Visitors to the exhibition can arrange mirrors and filters to make their own light art © D. Finnin/AMNH

"Color is all around us, shaping our emotions, our actions, and our surroundings, yet we often take it for granted," said the museum's president Ellen V. Futter. "This immersive exhibition will explore the role and power of color in the natural world, in human cultures, and in our personal lives."

You'll learn about the science and emotion of color at this interactive exhibition, how color is perceived across cultures and the ways in which animals and plants use it to survive and reproduce. 

Series of portraits on display showcasing different human skin tones
The Nature of Color will include a selection from the more than 4500 portraits by photographer Angélica Dass © Angélica Dass/D. Finnin/ AMNH

As part of the exhibition, Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass created a series of photographs entitled Humanæ, which showcases the diversity and beauty of human skin tones with a selection of more than 4500 portraits.

“Humanæ is a pursuit to highlight our true colors rather than the untrue white, red, black or yellow associated with race,” Dass said. “It’s a kind of game to question our codes. It’s a work in progress from a personal story to a global history.”

Insect and plant installations
In the green room, discover the role and power of color in nature ©R. Mickens/AMNH 

The Nature of Color will open to the public on 9 March, 2020 and will run until 8 August, 2021. For more information on it and the museum's 150th anniversary celebrations, see here.

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