After-Hours Programs

Brain Awareness Weekend

Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19

Neon outline of brain

Join us in the Sackler Educational Laboratory for Brain Awareness Weekend, where three scientists will discuss all the aspects of how our brain has changed; as humans evolved, as we grow up, and even into adulthood. See real brain specimens, fossil skulls of human ancestors, and microscope slides of neurons during this opportunity to chat with scientists in an informal lab setting.


Your Changing Brain: Evolution, Development, and Plasticity

How does your brain grow throughout your life and change in response to the world around you? Human brains take a long time to reach adulthood compared to those of other species. This extended period of development presents the opportunity for dramatic changes in the brain in response to learning, socializing, and even stress. And once our brains are all grown up, the changing doesn’t stop! New research has highlighted the concept of plasticity—the idea that the brain can flex and adapt even in adulthood to stimuli such as learning and exercise. How did our human brains get to be so unique and awesome? The evolutionary history of the human brain—recorded in the fossils of our ancestors—is a story of gradual but mind-blowing change over time. 


How does your brain grow?
Soha Ashrafi, Ph.D.
Associate in Neurobiology
Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School

How has the human brain evolved?
Joseph Califf, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Princeton University

How does your brain change in adulthood?
Rosemary Puckett
Junior Research Scientist
New York University


The Museum greatly acknowledges The Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, Inc. for its support to establish The Sackler Brain Bench, part of the Museum's Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins, in The Spitzer Hall of Human Origins.