The Center for Civil and Human Rights is Now Open in Atlanta
The Center for Civil and Human Rights, a new center that brings together the history of the American Civil Rights Movement and international human rights efforts, opened this week in Atlanta. David Rockwell and his award-winning firm Rockwell Group designed the Center's exhibitions in collaboration with George C. Wolfe, The Center's chief creative officer for The Center's civil rights gallery, and Jill Savitt, curator for human rights gallery.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights tells the story and brings to life the American Civil Rights Movement and introduces past and current international human rights issues. The Center's exhibition spaces focus on presenting stories in an experiential way that engages visitors individually and collectively.
The exhibitions are presented in three main galleries: Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement, Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement, and Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. A fourth space, Shared Accomplishments, physically and conceptually links civil rights to human rights.
"Our goal for The Center was to develop immersive environments that emotionally connect visitors to the historic events of the civil rights movement and current human rights issues," said David Rockwell, founder and President of Rockwell Group. "We used a wide range of strategies, including large-scale super graphics, ambient audio, and sweeping panoramic videos to give visitors the power to personalize their experiences."
"The Rockwell Group brought a unique set of skills and ideas to creating an immersive, beautiful and contemporary exhibition experience to life. David and his team have created a journey for each visitor that is personal and unexpected," said Doug Shipman, president and CEO of The Center. "In addition to their vast creativity and design expertise, Rockwell group also brought a tremendous spirit of collaboration to this unique effort."
For Rolls Down Like Water, Rockwell Group conceived a series of black box rooms that tell the story of the American Civil Rights Movement in a linear manner. The dramatic mix of traditional and multimedia exhibits in a light and sound-controlled environment offers visitors a theatrical and immersive experience. A visual and experiential layering comes from the juxtaposition of period references and reconstructions, and modern, artistic interpretations of historical events.
For example, visitors can take a seat at the modern replica of the Greensboro lunch counter, put on a pair of headphones and activate the exhibit to understand the discipline and focus needed to maintain composure within a violent environment, which is mimicked by a three-dimensional binaural soundtrack and seat-kickers. To highlight the significance of each individual loss of life resulting from the struggle for civil rights, victims are memorialized in a sculptural piece comprised of 41 individual martyr portraits. Each portrait can be rotated by visitors to reveal more about the victim's life.