By Brooke Porter Katz
June 23, 2014

After years of anticipation, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights opens on June 23 in downtown Atlanta, adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca. The 42,000-square-foot center by architect Philip Freelon is designed to start a dialogue and inspire visitors to think about how they can create a more unprejudiced world.

At the center are three primary, David Rockwell-designed exhibitions. Voice to the Voiceless: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection showcases a collection of Dr. King’s papers and items, including handwritten notes and books from his personal library. Rolls Down Like Water: The American Civil Rights Movement—curated by George C. Wolfe, the center’s COO and a Tony Award-winning playwright—uses sights, sounds, and interactive displays to highlight important moments in the movement’s history. Spark of Conviction: The Global Human Rights Movement covers individuals who are currently fighting for human rights, while the fourth gallery space houses temporary exhibits, beginning with paintings by the late Georgia artist Benny Andrews that depict the life of Civil Rights activitist and U.S. Congressman John Lewis.

Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.