Records of Rights Interactives
LocationNational Archives, Washington, DC
This interactive table and wall experience with an accompanying online exhibition immerses visitors of all ages in the quest for justice and equality in the United States.
From the abolition of slavery to defining workplace rights, protecting privacy to censorship, the permanent Records of Rights exhibit at the David M. Rubenstein Gallery at the National Archives draws on the Archives’ extensive collection of historic documents, images, and videos to share the history of the American struggle for freedom. At the center of the exhibit, a 15’ multi-touch, multi-user table allows individuals and groups to explore a wealth of diverse content. Simple, color-coded themes help users navigate the table, and they can search across categories to investigate the areas that interest them most. Scrollable timelines create visual narratives that expand and contract, and influencing events give greater context to the stories. Users can pinch and zoom for a closer look at the remarkable documents and photographs.
Perhaps most importantly, the table urges visitors to talk to each other about what they’re discovering. They can tag records with their emotional reactions and post these responses to nearby wall monitors for fellow visitors to see. Active table stations receive a notification when a record is shared, encouraging users to start a dialogue about the table’s content and deepening their engagement with the exhibit.
An accompanying online exhibition takes the important stories of triumph and struggle in our country beyond the gallery’s walls, allowing users to explore the table’s content from anywhere in the world.
Press & Awards“‘Records of Rights’ at the National Archives traces the unfinished journey to liberty and justice for all,” Washington Post, January 2014
One innovative part of the exhibit is “A Place at the Table,” a 17-foot-long interactive touchscreen that’s essentially a giant iPad. Using it, visitors can examine the changing rights of groups not represented in the exhibit’s three main categories, such as the rights of schoolchildren and of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The technology, in addition to allowing people to share their reactions, also enables the Archives to keep up with what’s going on outside its walls.“A Work Still in Progress,” The New York Times, December 2013
The exhibit makes good use of technology, with a long, table-height touch-screen that permits people to dig deeper into the archives’ collections on the topics covered.“National Archives opened gallery brilliantly illuminating struggles for equality,” Examiner.com, December 2013
The gallery and its fascinating interactive exhibit is extremely timely — the landmark immigration reform bill remains stuck in the House of Representatives, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act last June, and women still fight for equal pay and opportunities.“U.S. Archives opens new gallery with Magna Carta,” The Chicago Tribune, December 2013“US Archives showcases Magna Carta in new gallery,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 2013“Layers of meaning at National Archives’ ‘Records of Rights’,” The Washington Post, December 2013“A First Look Inside the New Rubenstein Gallery at the National Archives,” Washingtonian, December 2013“‘Rights’ Exhibit to Display Documents From the Mighty and the Modest,” The New York Times, October 2013
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