Museum Culture Awards IDCA

GOLD – Canadian Museum for Human Rights by Ralph Appelbaum Associates – USA

Case Study


The goal was to provide an immersive, interactive experience that inspires the erasure of barriers and creates meaningful, lasting change. The instruction was to communicate that ideas and actions matter—both as a way to acknowledge the wrongs different groups have experienced, and as an insight into the rights and freedoms others have struggled to attain.


We sought to strike a balance between the inherently upsetting aspects of human rights history and the inspirational stories that provide hope and possibility. The emphasis is on learning how to see through the lens of human rights.

We had to transform the abstract concept of human rights into a tangible understanding. The framework had to accommodate new stories and perspectives.


The singular architecture creates an upward path from darkness to light, symbolizing hope for a changed world. The final graphic design moves were minimal, allowing the human stories to lead and primary materials to be foregrounded. We included images, video, and artifacts, augmenting the experience through lighting, audio, and interactive spaces.
Visitation has surpassed initial projections by about 100%. Some 92% of visitors surveyed were likely to recommend the museum to others.