tcpl120Tompkins County Public Library, in partnership with the Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth, will launch a three-month exploration of what it means to be human with the November 23 opening of 'Exploring Human Origins.'

Presented by the Smithsonian National Museum and the American Library Association, 'Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean To Be Human?' is a traveling exhibit designed to provide--through community conversations and science programs—insight into scientific discoveries concerning human evolution and how these findings relate to and support personal and societal perspectives about who we are as a species.

TCPL is one of only 19 libraries in the country and the only site in New York State to host the exhibit, which will be on display in the Library's Avenue of the Friends through December 22.

Related programming, including talks from Smithsonian scientists, film screenings and family events are planned, with a November 30 opening reception, featuring Rick Potts, Ph.D. of the Smithsonian, scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Library's BorgWarner Community Room.

Potts, a paleoanthropologist and curator of 'Exploring Human Origins,' will discuss the major themes and messages of the exhibit and offer an in-depth look at how fossils, archeological remains and genetic studies shed light on human connection with the natural world.  He will also explore the origins of sharing, caring and innovation.

Participants will also be treated to a guided tour of the exhibit.

Smithsonian scientists will return to TCPL at 6 p.m. on December 1 for a community conversation entitled, 'What Does It Mean To Be Human.'  Led by Dr. Connie Bertka and Dr. Jim Miller, co-chairs of the Smithsonian Institution's Broader Social Impacts Committee, this program will encourage understanding of differing perspectives on human evolution.  Bertka and Miller will be joined by Potts and Dr. Briana Pobiner from the Smithsonian's Human Origins Program.

After-hours access to the exhibit and a first look at, "On Being Human," a multi-media art exhibit curated by Terry Plater, will be held during Downtown Ithaca's Gallery Night, December 2 from 5 to 8 p.m..

'On Being Human' features the work of ten local artists:  Plater, Ben Altman, William Benson, Jane Dennis, Gurdon Brewster, Mauro Marinelli, Lin Price, Sheryl Sinkow, Werner Sun and Robyn Wishna, who were asked to share, through their art, their personal views on what it means to be human.

Nearly 30 programs for families and adults, concluding with the Paleontological Research Institution's annual Darwin Days celebration, are planned through February 2017.