Author Bio

Ion Vlad, a native of Romania, is the director of The Miner Anderson Family Foundation and a writing consultant and guest lecturer at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education. His research background and interests are in human rights education and peace education.


This article presents a comparative analysis of human rights education at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, USA (NCCHR) and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg. Specifically, what is analyzed is the role of emotion and memory in the construction of the exhibits and the impact on the visitor. The investigation is based on the author’s field observations at these two locations and interviews with staff. The museums are viewed as third spaces of education, situated somewhere between the home and the school, which presents particular dialogic openings in terms of human rights and peace pedagogies. The NCCHR and the CMHR are found to emphasize visceral and emotional experiences, over purely intellectual ones. Furthermore, traumatic content is not avoided. Rather, it is placed at the forefront. In terms of memory, the past-present continuum is underlined by subverting chronology and through the thematic juxtaposition of content. Finally, there is a call for activism that goes beyond strict commemoration.

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