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Transformative Travel: Three Museums That Will Shake Your Soul

Here are three museums that take the notion seriously that who we are—spiritually, morally, ethically—is not a fixed thing. These museums plunk visitors into radical, intense, real-life, total-immersion situations where we realize that humans are molded by our experiences. We crack under torture. We betray others under pressure. We can be doting parents one day and victimizers the next. These museums allow visitors to feel and reflect on how we might respond to a physical and moral nightmare. They create a space where personal feelings bubble to the surface: where there is rage toward those who abuse the privilege of being alive and perhaps compassion toward others whose behavior wasn’t of the highest noble order. These are not easy museums to get to—or to walk through—but each is well worth the trip.Apartheid Museum Johannesburg, South AfricaOutside the Apartheid Museum entrance, I sat on a bench in the sun for a moment and asked Thuli Khumalo, a beautiful, brainy, black tour operator, to join me.“I can’t, sisi (sister),” she said. “This bench is not for me.” I twisted around and saw a sign on the …

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