Skip to content

Engaging with space in human rights and memorial museums

Thesis by Brita Johnson (2015)

The goal of this research is to describe ways in which newly constructed human rights and memorial (memory) museums utilize architecture and design to create emotionally engaging visitor experiences. Research sites, institutions with purpose-built facilities that opened to the public in the last year, include the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City. Interviews and site visits illustrated several common themes, including building architecture and exhibit design that work together to tell a story, exhibit design that evokes emotion, immersion, and making personal connections with museum content.

Keywords: research,  architecture; exhibit design; human rights; memorialization; museums; physical space


Johnson, B. (2015). Engaging with space in human rights and memorial museums. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. (Order No. 1600413). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1732168251). Retrieved from