Reliving the Past for a Better Tomorrow

Museums commemorating genocide, human rights, and other means of marginalizing populations can be solemn reminders of the atrocities humans have inflicted on one another. They memorialize the victims of senseless acts of violence by reminding patrons the ugly ramifications of stereotyping, racism, and prejudice in society. They are tools for students that can be used to further develop critical thinking skills. It humanizes history by providing faces and personal stories of affected people.

In the case of the Apartheid Museum of South Africa, the museum is a symbol of reconciliation for South Africans. It is reflective of South Africans coping with their troubled history. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Center in Rwanda is a permanent memorial to the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Built on top of a mass grave of 250,000 people, the Kigali Center is also a reminder of the many genocides around the world. The Yad Vashem in Israel is a living memorial of the Holocaust and it has become an international center for research and documentation. In Liverpool, the International Slavery Museum (ISM) looks at the aspect of historical and complementary slavery. The ISM has become an international hub for human rights issue and research. In Chile, the Museum of Memory and Human Rights commemorates its own September 11, 1973 by raising awareness of the human rights violations committed by the State of Chile between 1973 and 1990. The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN serve as a reminders that United States history is not immune of committing atrocities of its own.

The oft-used quote, "[those] who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" exemplifies the importance of museums as education centers. The list above is only an iota of the museums around the world dedicated to memorializing victims of genocide and human right violations. We encourage our readers to visit these museums and to donate your money and/or time to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of our past.