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Shipping-crate museum for Atlanta’s ‘forgotten’ populace bound for downtown

A red shipping crate is adorned with white letters reading “Experience the Forgotten.”Inside, patrons can get a glimpse of what people go through when living on the streets. | Images: Love Beyond Walls

Initiative at National Center for Civil and Human Rights aims to spotlight chronic homelessness in Atlanta

A shipping container that’s been converted into a mini-museum is soon to be installed within another, larger museum. (Museum-ception, you might say.)

The Dignity Museum, created and curated by nonprofit Love Beyond Walls, aims to spotlight the often-overlooked plight of people struggling with homelessness.

Next month, the bright red shipping crate will be installed at downtown’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

The goal of the Dignity Museum is to “rehumanize” the homeless, according to Love Beyond Walls literature.

“While the homeless population is often forgotten in this city and beyond, this exhibition asks you to take a moment and imagine life from the perspective of someone who is impoverished,” reads a newsletter.

Inside, there are messages on the walls that say things like “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Inside, the container is divided into three rooms, each of which educates visitors about homelessness and its stigmas in a different way.

Room one challenges stereotypes that many homeless people are pinned with, aiming to help visitors understand that anyone can fall on hard times, under the wrong circumstances.

The second room utilizes virtual reality to put people in the shoes of the less fortunate. Patrons can also use a smartphone app to hear the stories of homeless people and see data about the issue.

A makeshift home built out of plywood and bicycle wheels has two small windows. It’s spray painted, “Somebody lived here.”
Outside the shipping container, a makeshift shelter reminds of the lengths some people go to survive on the street.
An Atlanta police officer uses the phone app to learn about homelessness.
A group of visitors stand in front of a sign that says, “Create Empathy.”

The last room urges action from visitors, linking them to local nonprofits and other philanthropic or activist channels that contribute to the fight against chronic homelessness.

In the roughly five months since the museum opened its doors at a Southwest Atlanta parking lot, more than 2,500 visitors have gone through the experience.

Once Love Beyond Walls sets up at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, though, that number is expected to spike, shedding a brighter light on an issue ignored by many.

Above the entrance, a sign reads, “Experience the Forgotten.”

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