The Museum of Freedom and Human Rights, Museo de la Libertad y los Derechos Humanos, held its inaugural celebrations on May 21, 2019 to open Equality, the first of three buildings on the campus. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, President Juan Verala and Vice President Isabel Sant Mallo of Panama inaugurated the exhibition with the Chairman of the Foundation, Betty Brannan Jaen. Over two hundred fifty civil society representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, government ministers, UN agencies, donors and invited guests attended.
A pioneering undertaking, the museum is the first of its kind in Central America and unique among human rights museums in Latin America for its content and approach.
The inaugural exhibition, Human Rights: Yours, Mine, Everyone’s, was curated by Heidi McKinnon, ED of Curators Without Borders, and includes three galleries which look at the history of human rights both in Panama and internationally, stories that illustrate the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a look at what individual inspiring voices are doing in the world today to safeguard the future of human rights. The exhibition ends in a dialogue space where visitors can reflect on what they have experienced and consider ways to support human rights in their own communities.
CWB was hired by the Democracy and Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Panama City, for museum planning, exhibition content development and management. The international team of exhibit partners included Curators Without Borders leading exhibition development. ReHab Designs of Mexico City headed exhibition design and fabrication, and 32 Bits of Brazil designed all technology and interactive solutions for the museum.
It has been a pleasure and a labor of love bringing this project to life and we thank the Foundation for Democracy and Freedom as well as all of our colleagues, civil society partners and the international agencies who were instrumental in making this work a reality.