The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins is planned to open March 17, 2010 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

The $20.7 million exhibit is devoted to displaying the progression of human development since our race’s origin.

The grand opening will have numerous special events such as a human evolution and climate change symposium, and educational outreach for students and teachers, among others.

This exhibit is also a component of the Smithsonian’s wider initiative to create an education and outreach program focused on human evolution.

“The initiative focuses on the epic story of human evolution and how the defining characteristics of the species have evolved over 6 million years as its ancestors adapted to a changing world,” the Smithsonian’s press release said.

The exhibit’s premiere marks the centennial anniversary of the museum and is accompanied by the launch of a Smithsonian Human Origins Web site. The Web site will display a complete virtual reproduction of the exhibition in addition to special features available only on the Web.

The hall’s namesake, David H. Koch, is the executive vice president of David H. Koch Industries, Inc., and his donation enabled the Smithsonian to create the new exhibit.

The 15,000-square-foot Hall of Human Origins will incorporate interactive elements, highlighting the origin and survival of human beings.

To enter the exhibit, visitors will pass through a time tunnel depicting life and environments across the span of human existence. The exhibit is designed to give visitors a personal connection to their ancestors with life-size, forensically reconstructed faces of human species, 75 cast-reproduction skulls and an interactive human family tree.

As part of the initiative, the museum will support scientists and research institutions.

“The exhibition and related programming will advance the work of leading scientists and research institutions around the world by making their research more readily available,” the press release said.

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