Museums of Peace and Tolerance

This feature had its origin in the death of thousands of people in the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001, but war and hate are not new to this planet. Perhaps it's time for a culture of peace to arise. For people to believe that meeting hate with hate isn't the way to produce understanding, and that living together, although far more difficult than fighting, is more than worth the effort.

There are several museums around the world that are trying to search for ways to promote peace.

International Museum of Peace and Solidarity

Samarkand, Republic of Uzbekistan
Samarkand, once the crossroad of trade of the Great Silk Road, is still the cultural center of Central Asia. It's also the home, since 1986, of the non-profit, non-governmental International Museum of Peace and Solidarity. It runs a wide range of educational activities and international projects, as well as housing about 20,000 exhibit pieces from over 100 countries. It's probably the only place in the world where visitors can see a piece of the Berlin Wall, fragments of Soviet and US nuclear missiles, a part of an A-bombed roof tile from Nagasaki, soil from Auschwitz, in one place.

The museum emphasizes universal human values, and the costs of war -- destruction of WWI and WWII, atomic bombardment, the mission of the UN and the Red Cross and Crescent societies, racism, poverty, human rights.

To learn more about the museum:

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum (Musee International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge)

Geneva, Switzerland
We learned about this museum by a world-traveling friend who visited and told us how impressed he was with the exhibits and the museum itself. Of course, we all know of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. It was the world's first humanitarian organization (set up in 1863) and has become synonymous with international rescue and assistance.

The museum uses photographs, films, writings and a collection of unusual artifacts to bring visitors into the experience. "Visitors are not considered as mere spectators of other people's suffering but are encouraged to think and to act. They too can help build a peaceful world in which human dignity is a value cherished by all."

The museum's collections also include objects actually created by prisoners of war and given to Red Cross delegates. There's a database of over 10,000 documents for research, and over 900 film titles starting from the 1930s. Special exhibits, concerts, and lectures are also among the activities of the museum.

To learn more about the museum:
Musee International-Red Cross

Museum of Tolerance

Los Angeles, California, USA
This museum, the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has a dual focus. It seeks to explore the dynamics of racism and prejudice in America, and the history of the Holocaust.

The high-tech exhibits include the Tolerancecenter which stresses the message of personal responsibility through the Millenium Machine which speaks of human rights abuses throughout the world and possible solutions. Ain't You Gotta Right? Is a 16-screen video wall using archival footage and interviews to depict the struggle for civil rights in America. Seeking to expand the message of tolerance into current history the In Our Time film focuses on Bosnia, Rwanda and contemporary struggles for human rights.

And that's just one section of the museum.

To learn more about the museum:
Museum of Tolerance

The National Civil Rights Museum

Memphis, Tennessee, USA
On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot to death while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The National Civil Rights Museum is the memorial for the man who led the civil rights movement in the United States promoting nonviolence as the best means toward that end. His famous speech, I Have A Dream, still rings through the world as a goal we hope someday to achieve.

The museum itself, housed in the Lorraine Motel, contains over 27,000 square feet devoted to exhibits and an auditorium. In addition to its permanent exhibits chronicling the history of the civil rights movement in the USA it showcases touring exhibits on loan from other museums, galleries and collections. Over the past few months these have looked at: Latino Life in the United States; Anne Frank: A History for Today; and Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World.

To learn more about the museum:
Civil Rights Museum

The National Liberty Museum

Philadelphia, PA
Created to celebrate our nation's heritage of freedom and the wonderful diverse society it has produced, the museum includes exhibits honoring 1000 men, women and young people of all walks of life who have helped make the world a better place, array of hands-on exhibits that demonstrate easy, practical and fun ways to resolve conflicts peacefully, and a gallery devoted to the contribution of immigration to the diversity of American society. National Liberty Museum also maintains a unique collection of more than 100 works of fine art which reflect the theme of the fragility of liberty.

To learn more about the museum:
National Liberty Museum

Osaka Human Rights Museum

Osaka, Japan
The museum focuses on historical human rights material associated with discriminated groups, women, handicapped, and environmental issues. In addition to permanent exhibitions, there are special exhibits and lectures. The museum was suggested by Jess F. currently of Eugene, Oregon who visited recently and said it was "excellent."

To learn more about the museum:

The Peace Museum

Chicago, Illinois, USA
The first museum in the US dedicated to promoting the cause of world peace. The Peace Museum, founded in 1981 by Mark Rogovin (a Chicago muralist) and Marjorie Craig Benton (former U.S. Representative to UNICEF), uses visual and performing arts to convey the message of peace.

Currently its collection includes over 10,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, anti-war quilts, musical instruments, photographs and more. Exhibits focus on individual peacemakers and artists, the horrors of war, human rights and more.

They have also created educational programs to foster peace as an active process a way of living, for both children and adults.

To learn more about the museum:
The Peace Museum

Resource Information for Peace, Tolerance, and Human Dignity

Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies
Their goal is to end humiliating practices and breaking cycles of humiliation throughout the world. They believe that when humiliation ends, and dignity is restored and practiced, a space is opened for mutual respect and esteem to take root and grow. In addition, a mindset of connection and a spirit of shared humility and humanity makes previously intractable conflicts amenable to dignified resolution.
For more information visit Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies.

If you know of other museums dedicated to tolerance and peace, please let us know. We'll be happy to add them to the listing. Contact us at

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Updated: November 27, 2016

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