science world skin exhibit

SKIN: Living Armor, Evolving Identity at Science World (March 3 to May 29)

Did you know that about 16% of a human’s body weight is made up of skin? In many organisms, skin is one of the largest organs. Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity, presented by Acuitas Therapeutics, will be on display at Science World starting March 3rd until May 29th, 2023, and invites you to learn about skin across different organisms, and its impact on shaping physical and social interactions with its outside world.

Featuring a range of collections and engaging interactive experiences, visitors will explore the shape-shifting, colour-changing, and adaptable nature of skin and the technological innovations it inspires. Visitors to Skin will explore a variety of skin across the animal kingdom: see a life-size rhinoceros model that shows the largeness of its skin; examine keratin-based feathers, furs, and quills; and touch different specimens, like snake skin and otter fur.

science world skin exhibit

Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity will inspire wonder and curiosity about this uniquely complex organ, illustrate the incredibly adaptive properties of skin across all organisms, and spark dialogue and reflection about skin’s role in shaping human culture and identity.

The exhibit explores how evolution has shaped diversity in human skin and presents the topics of racism, prejudice, and discrimination through the lens of history and science. Visitors will investigate the layers of meaning humans have associated with skin colour throughout history and how our ever-evolving social and political climate has influenced shifting ideas of race and culture in our modern world.

“Skin is made of simple blocks that form magnificent structures, especially when we see the variety of skin across the animal kingdom. We’re excited about this exhibit and are looking forward to sharing the science behind skin, an organ that tells an endless and fascinating story when you take a second to look closer.” – Kiki Kirkpatrick, Program Manager, Science World.

Fun Facts visitors will learn at the Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity exhibition:

  • In many organisms, skin is one of the largest organs: the average adult has 2m2 squared of skin (the size of a twin mattress), an Indian elephant has 18m2 (a king mattress), and a raven has 0.17m2 (2 sheets of legal paper).
  • The sole of an elephant’s foot can sense tremors created by an elephant herd stomping 32 km away (Science World to Lion’s Bay).
  • Salmons’ skin can pump salt ions out or into the salmon to allow it to survive both salt and fresh waters.
  • The skin on a human hand contains 17,000 nerve endings to help sense the temperature, texture, shape, and movement of everything you touch.
  • Mucous glands, which aid in maintaining the water balance and offer protection from bacteria, are extremely numerous in fish skin. Fish heal faster than land animals – the mucous layer protects from scrapes and parasites. Their skin is completely living, with no layer of dead skin like land vertebrates, which helps them heal faster.

Skin was created by California Academy of Sciences and modified for travel and distributed by the Science Museum of Minnesota. Tickets are available at and at the door.


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