An appreciation and celebration of everything from contemporary art to civil rights to college football.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Tell me: What’s this place all about?
This downtown attraction, opened in 2014, celebrates the American Civil Rights Movement and the global Human Rights Movement. The airy, modern building was designed to inspire positive action with architectural elements like a clear glass front and two bold, curved walls. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights shares its prime location with neighbors the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. Conceived by global design firm HOK, the architects in charge said they were inspired by Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Inside, the museum includes three levels of galleries and event halls. Even more inspiring are the engaging, often emotional exhibits, spread across 43,000 square feet.
Let's talk about the permanent collection. How was it?
Some exhibits are heart-wrenching (Wall of Martyrs shows photos of those who lost their lives in the Civil Rights Movement, and Human Rights World Map shows the countries that are not yet free), while others will lift your spirits (a gallery of original writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). The museum's curators use historical images and videos to anchor the experience, and leverage technology to create evocative, interactive experiences. For instance, the "lunch counter protest" recreates the 1960s-era diner and lets visitors place their hands on the counter. A timer measures how long they last while wearing headphones with a track of screaming insults.
What about temporary exhibits?
The design of the Center is drop-dead gorgeous and facilitates the mission of inspiring understanding and action. The nonprofit organization also engages guest curators, such as a recent exhibit called “The Drum Major Instinct: Continue the March,” curated by a team of five local high school students.
How was it getting around?
The Center is only about two miles from the Sweet Auburn area and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthplace, so many Atlanta visitors make a day of paying homage to Dr. King's contributions to society. Every guest seems to approach the center at their own pace, so there's no right or wrong way to do it. Fortunately for parents who want to take it slow, there are enough interactive exhibits that can occupy children, at least for a little while.
Is there a guide involved?
There's not an official guided tour, but Center staff are happy to answer questions and engage with guests. Plus, there's terrific signage and audio/video elements, so you'd have to be trying not to "get it."
Was there a gift shop?
There's a modest gift shop on property with a small selection of books, paper goods, tee shirts, photography, and post cards. It's worth a five-minute look around, since the shop doesn't have an e-commerce site yet.
Felicia: "Non-committee members are NOT allowed in the room during the deposition. Those are the RULES. NO exceptions made." - Trey Gowdy, 2015 45+ GOP committee members are present at these hearings, listening and asking questions. What is so secretive about that? If they really wanted to be here, they should have asked for better committee assignments.