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CMHR exhibition design wins gold at international museum awards

News release details

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) has won one of the world's top awards for innovative exhibition design and visitor impact – a prize claimed last year by the 9/11 Museum in New York City.

Exhibition design firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) was yesterday presented with the gold award for "Best Scenography for a Permanent Collection" at the International Design and Communications Awards for museums. RAA, based in New York, was the master designer for the inaugural exhibitions of the CMHR. The award recognizes that the layout of space is key to making an exhibition a success, with entries judged on spatial organization, display, design and lighting along with digital installations and interactive stations. Judges were looking for creative use of space and an efficient visitor journey.

RAA created an immersive, interactive experience at the CMHR that offers visitors inspiring encounters, welcomes them as partners on a journey of inspiration, and supplies them with tools to make a difference in the lives of others. The core design is intended to communicate that ideas and actions matter. The goal was to strike a balance between the inherently upsetting aspects of human rights history and the inspirational stories that offer a sense of hope and possibility, leveraging the "architectural drama" of the building with its upward path from darkness to light.

More than 250 cultural organizations from around the world participated in the award competition (in all categories). This year's conference and awards ceremony took place in Québec City.

Since 2013, the CMHR has won over 30 international, national and regional awards for aspects ranging from exhibit design and technology to architecture and construction.

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Maureen Fitzhenry