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Kinsey Institute’s legacy lives on with 70th anniversary historical exhibition and celebration

For Immediate Release Sep 12, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University is celebrating a milestone this year: 70 years of sex research.

To honor the Kinsey Institute’s legacy, an open house and the unveiling of a new historical exhibition will take place Saturday, Sept. 16. From noon to 6 p.m., visitors can attend short presentations on the institute’s art, research and history, and authors will be on hand to sign copies of the newly published “The Kinsey Institute: The First Seventy Years.”

Alfred Kinsey
Alfred Kinsey

The 70th anniversary historical exhibition is displayed in the halls and galleries of the newly restored Morrison Hall. Exhibits include historical photographs, contributions of Kinsey Institute directors, research findings and art.

“The exhibition will tell the stories of prohibitions against portrayals of sexuality, the cultural suppression of sexual diversity and the incredible persistence of researchers devoted to shedding light on the facts about sexuality,” said Rick Van Kooten, vice provost for research.

Founded in 1947 by Alfred Kinsey as the Institute for Sex Research, the Kinsey Institute is recognized today as one of the premier sex research institutes in the world.

“Every day, our researchers work to uncover new insights into human sexuality and the science of love, and to provide scientific context for the dynamics of relationships and sexuality that impact our daily lives,” said Sue Carter, executive director of the Kinsey Institute and Rudy Professor of Biology at Indiana University.

The Kinsey Institute’s legacy began at IU in the 1930s, when Kinsey was studying gall wasps as a zoology professor in the biology department.

In 1938, as an instructor of Indiana University’s Marriage Course, Kinsey began collecting sex histories from his students. He discovered a diversity of behavior and physiology as varied as the specimens of his wasp collection, and his intellectual curiosity was piqued.

In the 1940s, Kinsey and his research team expanded their data collection across the country, collecting more than 18,000 personal sexual histories that would form the basis of two massive publications: “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” (1948) and “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female” (1953) – popularly called the Kinsey Reports.

Over the decades since their publication, the field of sexology and Kinsey Institute researchers have turned their attention to the behavioral and physiological mechanisms underlying human sexual behavior.

Today’s Kinsey Institute employs the tools of neuroscience, psychology and biology to study a spectrum of sexuality issues that affect people around the globe: to map the influence of hormones like oxytocin on love and human bonding; to analyze changes in dating behavior brought on by technology; to investigate the long-term effects of sexual trauma on the body; to identify the cultural and structural factors that affect a woman’s medical decisions; and to evaluate the effectiveness of sexual assault education campaigns on university campuses, including education initiatives.

The Kinsey Institute 70th anniversary historical exhibition will be open to the public on weekdays following the Sept. 16 opening. This exhibition has been sponsored by the IU Office of the Bicentennial. For more information about bicentennial programs and activities, visit

EDITOR’S NOTE: There will be media availability at the VIP reception from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, with Sue Carter, Rick Van Kooten and Wendy Kinsey Corning, Alfred Kinsey’s granddaughter.

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Nicole Wilkins

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