Museums and the embodiment of human rights

Louise Purbrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The representation of human rights in museums is not simply another new phase of museum practice or policy. This article considers how the space of the museum is, and has always been, an important territory for the exercise of rights, and analyses the museum visit as a journey through which rights are offered to visitors and invested in them. Presenting two cases, Le Mémorial de Caen, Normandy, and the National Maritime Museum, London, it pays close attention to how human rights are articulated by museum architecture, gallery installation, collection arrangement and displayed text. Human rights as universal values are being increasingly disseminated across a global museum sector but the understanding of these rights, how they are acquired and who is permitted to exercise them is shaped within each specific museum space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-189
Number of pages24
JournalMuseum and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

Bibliographical note

© 2011 Louise Purbrick


  • human rights
  • museums
  • embodiment


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