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Human Rights

Dear Mr. Mandela.... Dear Mrs. Parks: Children's Letters, Global Lessons

Created by the staffs of the MSU Museum and the Nelson Mandela Museum along with other MSU faculty, staff and students and community members in South Africa and Michigan, "Dear Mr. Mandela, Dear Mrs. Parks: Children's Letters, Global Lessons" is an exhibit of letters written by children from all over the world to human rights leaders Nelson Mandela and the late Rosa Parks The exhibition first opened at the Nelson Mandela National Museum in Mthatha, South Africa. Two traveling versions of the exhibitions are now traveling, one each in South Africa and the United States. The exhibition includes video-taped welcoming comments from three Nobel Prize awardees: President Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and President Obama and each venue is encouraged to provide letter writing stations where visitors of all ages can write letters to Parks, Mandela, or people that they feel have made a change in their lives, their communities, or the world.

The inspiration for "Dear Mr. Mandela.....Dear Mrs. Parks" came from the hundreds of children around the world who have written letters to two individuals--Nelson Mandela of South Africa and the late Rosa Parks of the United States--who are internationally known for their work in human rights. The letters reveal why children revere Mandela and Parks and also how young people's desires for guidance and understanding about life.

"The exhibit also encourages visitors - especially youth -- to understand and be tolerant of diverse cultures and traditions, become aware of the ongoing struggle for human rights around the world, and recognize ways to honor individuals in their own families and communities who--like Mandela and Parks--have contributed, in large and small ways, to making a better world," notes MSU Museum curator, C. Kurt Dewhurst, one of the exhibit's organizers.

"The exhibit brings together two remarkable icons that have dedicated their lives to human rights and did so with great sacrifice," said Kurt Dewhurst, MSU Museum director and one of the exhibit's organizers. "And they did so in two different ways - Mr. Mandela, a public figure, was able to rise to be president and a worldwide figure after years of imprisonment; and Mrs. Parks, through her quiet strength, was able to leave a remarkable legacy. They show how individuals can make a real difference in the world."


No current bookings. This exhibit is available.

This exhibition has been displayed at the following sites: MSU Museum, East Lansing, MI; The Nelson Mandela Museum, Mthatha, South Africa; and Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, KY

  Rental fee (12 week period) $7,000, plus shipping
  Number of pieces: 46
  Running feet required: 350 square feet, plus 120 linear feet of wall space
  Insurance Value: $20,000
  Security requirement: Lockable, limited access display area; provisions to prevent public from touching pieces; fire protection according to local ordinances
  Additional materials available: Press materials.

Learn more:
-Michigan State University Museum
-Nelson Mandela National Museum
-Stellenboch University

Dear Mr. Mandela exhibit on display

Mrs. Parks. Mr. Mandela panel from the exhibit

Letter to Nelson Mandela from the exhibit




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