For several decades, museums have invested in the work of human rights. Museums dedicated to documenting abuses of human rights, such as acts of genocide, or significant advances in the field, such as in the achievement of civil rights, have proliferated since the 1980s, when a veritable museum boom occurred around the world. A newer phenomenon is that of institutions that choose to self-identify as human rights museums in their name. Very little research exists on these and this book aims to address that with an international and comparative analysis of the emergence and practices of several key human rights museums in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. The author analyzes case studies in Canada, Chile, Paraguay, Belgium, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Pakistan, with careful attention to locating these museums in their specific geo-political and cultural contexts. The book develops successful methods for knowledge sharing and mobilization amongst scholars, museum professionals, students and wider communities of human rights activists by examining lessons learned in the creation of these museums and questioning which human rights discourses have informed the creation, mission, collecting, exhibition and programming initiatives of these institutions.
Jennifer Carter is Professor in the Department of History of Art at the University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada