Center for Civil and Human Rights
The Center for Civil and Human Rights tells the story and brings to life the American civil rights movement and introduces past and current human rights issues across the globe. The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection gallery exhibits MLK’s personal papers and writings. Together they become the basis for an ongoing dialogue on international human rights.
The firm designed the Center’s exhibition spaces in collaboration with director, writer and producer George C. Wolfe and human rights expert and activist Jill Savitt. Additional exhibit elements were designed for the public spaces and lobbies. The Freelon Group (merged with Perkins+Wills) and HOK are the architects for the project.
The Center’s exhibition space focuses on telling stories in an experiential manner that engages visitors both individually and collectively. The exhibition space is comprised of two sets of galleries: the Civil Rights galleries and the Human Rights galleries.
The Civil Rights galleries consist of a series of black box rooms that tell the story of this period in American history in a chronological manner. A dramatic mix of traditional and multimedia exhibits in a light- and sound-controlled environment offer a theatrical and immersive experience.
The Human Rights galleries provides visitors with an understanding of what human rights are, why they deserve protection, and how they play out in today’s world. Visitors have the opportunity to make a personal connection to people who are involved in contemporary struggles for human rights.
The galleries are open and free-flowing, so visitors can explore the exhibits as they choose. The content is current and inherently relevant to visitors’ lives. Interactives and narratives encourage personal connections to the story of human rights from a variety of viewpoints, beginning on an individual level and expanding to a global viewpoint. The spaces feel light and modern to reflect the contemporary content.
A final shared gallery celebrates the accomplishments of these movements and serves as a place for visitors to linger, discuss their experiences, and explore ways to get involved with various causes.
Exhibitions are presented primarily through graphics, immersive projections, individual interactive kiosks, and group interactive stations. These distinct strategies serve to address the varying needs of visitors, as well as provide a wide range of experiences in order to engage them on different levels.