Oct
30

Today in Smithsonian History: October 30, 1980

The "Dynamics of Evolution," exhibit in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History seen from above. A group of Smithsonian staff members pose for a photograph in the "Dynamics of Evolution" exhibition next to the "People Tower" and the "Dog Tower. The "People Tower" is covered with more than 100 larger than life-size photos of faces showing genetic traits, such as blue or brown eyes, or black or blond hair. The "Dog Tower" illustrates how "artificial" selection by human beings has influenced an animal's evolutionary history.

The “Dynamics of Evolution,” exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History seen from above. A group of Smithsonian staff members pose for a photograph in the “Dynamics of Evolution” exhibition next to the “People Tower” and the “Dog Tower. The “People Tower” is covered with more than 100 larger than life-size photos of faces showing genetic traits, such as blue or brown eyes, or black or blond hair. The “Dog Tower” illustrates how “artificial” selection by human beings has influenced an animal’s evolutionary history.

October 30, 1980 The U.S. Court of Appeals rules that two exhibition areas in the National Museum of Natural History that focus on the scientific theory of evolution do not violate the First Amendment requirement of separation of church and state. The decision, which affirmed the decision of a lower court in Washington, D.C., also reports that the Smithsonian did not support or endorse any one religion by presenting exhibits with material on the evolutionary process. The suit was brought against the Smithsonian by Dale Crowley, Jr., a fundamentalist minister and executive director of the National Foundation for Fairness in Education in 1978, alleging that the use of federal funds in Museum exhibits, specifically the Dynamics of Evolution in 1979 and Ice Age Mammals and the Emergence of Man in 1974 was a violation of the separation of church and state.

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives


Posted: 30 October 2017
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