Implicit Bias Learning Lab Opens at National Underground Railroad Freedom Center This Week

Press Release

Implicit Bias Learning Lab Opens at National Underground Railroad Freedom Center This Week


Cody Hefner, (513) 608-5777,


CINCINNATI, OH (January 31, 2017) – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s implicit bias learning lab opens to the public this Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias is located on the first floor of the museum, next to the Smith & Hannon Bookstore, and is included in general admission.

Implicit bias is defined as the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. Admitting and identifying personal biases can be difficult. Nearly two decades of scientific research has persuasively demonstrated that each of us harbor implicit bias even if we seem to hold no explicit prejudice. Society is saturated with attitudes and stereotypes about social groups and people, encompassing a range of intersectional identities. Over time, these feelings and beliefs can become deeply ingrained.

The Open Your Mind learning lab is designed to assist the public in understanding and recognizing bias and other forms of discrimination, as well as to explore recent debates in the realm of implicit bias research. The learning lab partner is the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. The learning lab is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Procter & Gamble.

“At the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center we challenge and inspire visitors through our exhibits, programs, and community initiatives,” says Richard Cooper, Director of Museum Experiences. “After testing several exhibit layouts we decided a learning lab was the best approach in communicating the complexities of hidden biases. With the Kirwan Institute as our content partner, the Open Your Mind learning lab is just the beginning of what is sure to become a meaningful experience with facilitated discussions and action steps.”

“We are proud to partner on the Open Your Mind learning lab. As an engaged research institute, we rely on partnerships with community-based institutions, like the Freedom Center, to engage people around our research and compel them toward helping to create a just, inclusive, and opportunity-rich society,” says Robin A. Wright of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. “We believe that creating such a society is only possible when we commit to grappling with our implicit biases. What better place to begin such a process, than at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center?”

Prior to the public opening of the learning lab, Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard professor and global expert on implicit bias, will keynote Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People on Friday, February 3 from 5-8:30 p.m. at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Professor Banaji will speak to the question of how well-intentioned people behave in ways that deviate from their own values and principles. She will discuss how these behaviors compromise decisions in the social context. Additionally, she will demonstrate how subtle cues influence how we perceive others and act towards them.

The workshop is participatory, involving educational and entertaining hands-on exercises. Their purpose is to reveal mental blind spots that can compromise our professional and personal decisions and to begin a conversation about what might be done to help us lead the examined life to which we aspire.

Registration is now available. This Diverse by DesignTM Insights in Inclusion event is a partnership between the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. The event is sponsored by Procter & Gamble, Miami University, University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.

Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias opens to the public this Saturday, February 4 at 11:00 a.m. For more information about Open Your Mind, visit



The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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