The Center for Civil and Human Rights is the city’s first civil rights museum and one of the nation’s only global human rights museums. Serving as a connector between past and present, The Center’s powerful stories of individuals who shaped the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and the modern human rights movement invite visitors to reflect on how they can create a better tomorrow.
Consistent with The Center’s mission to empower people to take the protection of every human’s rights personally, its public opening celebration honored the past and looked toward the future. At the opening a few weeks ago, a crowd of nearly 1,000 included civil rights icons such as U.S. Congressman John Lewis, several Freedom Riders and human rights activists Alina Diaz, Mark Johnson and others. The multi-generational gathering represented the growing diversity of the Southeastern states. This audience became a part of history when they walked through the doors of The Center on opening day.
Designed with multimedia displays, compelling artifacts and interactive activities, the National Center for Civil and Human Right’s (NCCHR) exhibits are created to empower people to take the protection of every human’s rights personally. It was designed by architect Philip Freelon in partnership with HOK; George C. Wolfe served as The Center’s chief creative officer for the civil rights gallery; Jill Savitt curated the NCCHR’s human rights gallery; and David Rockwell and Rockwell Group served as the NCCHR’s exhibition designer. The building is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, adjacent to the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. The 43,000-square-foot facility houses four primary exhibitions:
- “Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection” Gallery presents a rare collection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal papers and items.
- “Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement” Gallery created by George C. Wolfe is comprised of a series of eight sequential exhibitions that bring to life the defining moments of the modern American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
- “Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement” Gallery designed by Jill Savitt illuminates both individual and global human rights issues. The exhibition is designed to allow visitors to experience a personal connection to individuals who are taking a stand in the contemporary fight for human rights.
- A fourth temporary exhibition space features an inaugural-year exhibits celebrating selected works from “John Lewis Series” by Georgia artist Benny Andrews (American, 1930-2006): this powerful, iconic series of paintings depicts scenes from the life of John Lewis.
The NCCHR is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with closures on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Adult tickets are $15 and child (ages 3–12) tickets are $10. Group rates are also available. Memberships start at $50 per year and include unlimited free admission for one year, access to members-only events, and special discounts on programming, events and retail merchandise.
As Atlanta continues to grow, so does its appeal. SkyView came last year, the Streetcar is almost complete, THIS brand new attraction is completed and open, and the new College Hall of Fame will be open before you know it. Downtown Atlanta is making strong additions to its lineup (as if the Aquarium, World of Coke, Philips Arena, and CNN weren’t enough) so be sure to keep up with all the additions.
We’ll see you at The Center!