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Traveling Exhibits Service

Kennewick Man on Trial

Kennewick Man on Trial explores the important legal, ethical, and scientific issues raised by the discovery of the archaeological remains known as Kennewick Man—unearthed in July 1996 ten feet from the shore of the Columbia River in Kennewick, WA. Through illustrations, text, and quotes, the exhibition presents a variety of points-of-view on issues under debate, including federal law and Native American human remains, how people first came to the Americas, and changing ideas about race. Frequently asked questions are addressed and visitors are referred to sources for additional information.

The controversy—public interest, debate, and controversy began when an independent archaeologist, working on contract to the Kennewick coroner, decided the bones were ancient but might not be Native American. He described them as “Caucasoid” and sent a piece of bone to a laboratory to be dated. The final date indicated an age of approximately 9,000 years, making Kennewick Man one of the oldest and most complete skeletons found in the Americas. Subsequent tests of other bone samples showed the skeleton to be somewhere between 5,650 and 9,510 years old. The question of who was Kennewick Man has raised many issues that have put Kennewick Man “on trial” in the public eye.

Kennewick Man on Trial was developed by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington in Seattle. The exhibition was made possible by the Norman Archibald Charitable Foundation, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Humanities Washington, Microsoft Corporation, the National Park Service, the U.S. Bank, the University of Washington’s Graduate School of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Vice Provost for Research. Support for the second tour was generously provided by Dr. Harold Bergen.

Note: No representations of human remains or casts of Kennewick Man are included in the exhibition.

Read more about Kennewick Man

Itinerary and Availability Information

Exhibit Specifications:


6-section, free-standing full-color panel display featuring illustrations, text, maps, and quotes

Life size, free-standing Kennewick Man silhouette featuring a Cascade Point reproduction – located on the right hip – and key facts on Kennewick Man.

Participation Fee

$800 for a 12-week booking period; $75 for each additional week


280 printed hand-outs of frequently asked questions and additional reading list

Publicity kit including promotional images and press release

Educational resources


20 running feet or 100 square feet depending on arrangement of panels

9-foot ceilings




550 Lbs.




Inbound shipping cost

Note: Additional shipping and/or custom fees apply for venues in Alaska and Canada

A visitor learns about the discovery of Kennewick Man at the Kennewick Man on Trial exhibit.
Visitors learn about NAGPRA issues at the Kennewick Man on Trial exhibit.
Take-home information is available for visitors at the Kennewick Man on Trial exhibit.

For more information, please contact:
Mark R. Hand
Traveling Exhibits Coordinator
Phone: 206-616-0268
E-mail: mrhand@u.washington.edu