Coming back with confidence 

How a cultural institution in the U.S. provides a safe space for open dialog.

The National Center of Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) in Atlanta, Georgia, welcomes approximately 200,000 visitors each year. When the pandemic hit in 2020, the museum and human rights organization was forced to close its doors in March. Together with Siemens, the NCCHR worked on a solution that allowed them to reopen and stay open since September, providing a safe space for learning and open dialog.  

Edged in metal, fragmented phrases from Martin Luther King’s sermons and speeches are spread across an entire wall of The Center. To stand in front of this large-scale art installation that displays his distinctive handwriting means to immerse in the powerful messages of hope for racial equality and unity carried by the large-sized illuminated letters. At the NCCHR, visitors can view the personal papers and items of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and experience King’s ideals in his own words, getting closer to his legacy than ever before.

I believe in the power of this place.
Jill Savitt, President and CEO of the NCCHR

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a cultural institution that connects the American Civil Rights Movement to the struggle for human rights around the world today. Visitors discover experiential exhibits through powerful and authentic stories, historic documents, compelling artifacts, and interactive activities. The Center is a source for ongoing dialog — hosting educational forums and attracting world-renowned speakers and artists who work on a variety of human rights topics.

An experience that cannot be replaced 

The lockdown in March 2020 and the resulting closure of the Center were a painful move. Despite the option to tour the exhibits virtually, Jill Savitt, President and CEO of the NCCHR, strongly holds onto experiencing the building in person. “I believe in the power of this place,” she explains. “Our main mission is to help people tap their own power to change the world around them. And that only happens when people come here together.”

Our main mission is to help people tap their own power to change the world around them.
Jill Savitt, President and CEO of the NCCHR

When visiting the impressive institution, one quickly realizes that there is much truth in this reflection. In fact, the NCCHR incorporates not only the learning aspect, but fosters the understanding that every individual can make an impact. To be able to inspire, encourage, and activate visitors to become creators of change, it was crucial to find a solution for opening to the public again safely. 

Integration of thermal imaging and air ionization 

By incorporating thermal imaging and air purification technologies from Siemens and its partners into its existing health and safety protocols, The Center has become a safer place for visitors – and one of the first cultural institutions in the US to implement such solutions.


Through their partnership with Sustainability Management Partners, called NPBI™, Siemens has brought patented needlepoint bipolar ionization technology to The Center. 


This solution works by using a facility’s existing ventilation system to flood the environment with hundreds of millions of ions that attack pathogens, mold, and other airborne and surface contaminants for long-term protection. The patented technology safely cleans indoor air, transforming a building’s infrastructure into a frontline of defense. 

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In addition, the NCCHR has also implemented FDA-approved Siemens’ Thermal Imaging technology, allowing temperature checks via thermal cameras. Results are displayed on a monitor at a safe social distance, enhancing overall protection for staff and visitors. Both the temperature scanner and the air purifier make sure everyone who comes in is safe.



Through the partnership with Siemens, we now have state-of-the-art technology in our building.
Jill Savitt, President and CEO of the NCCHR

Since the reopening last fall, The Center has welcomed guests without any further closures. Jill Savitt looks back on the past months: “It broke our hearts to be closed because we know that the stories that we tell here and the history that we communicate gives people hope that the future will be different. Through the partnership with Siemens, we now have state-of-the-art technology in our building.”


With the technology solutions in place, The Center proves that visitor safety is the top priority. Today, people can come together again to learn and openly exchange about the protection of civil and human rights. By entering the dialog with others, they can identify their common interests and find out how to make those visible in the world – in a building that is safer and smarter than ever before.

April 7, 2021

Picture credits: NCCHR, Siemens AG

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