Social Lab at The Museum of Tolerance

The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, a Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum, challenges visitors to act in the face of intolerance by building awareness of pressing issues through local and global perspectives and facilitating connection through dialogue and engagement.


Unified Field

Practice Area


Simon Wiesenthal Center, Inc., The Museum of Tolerance


The Challenge

The Social Lab is a space for visitors to explore their social responsibility in the world, as they participate in sixteen media-driven experiences, each thematically building upon each other. The experiences do not shy away from difficult conversations and inquiries. At the interactive tolerance lens, visitors respond to poignant questions, adding their voices and selfies, committing to be a face of change. Their images and responses alongside real-time data visualizations combine to create a digital kaleidoscope of what we stand for as a community.

Project Vision

Beginning with an interactive BiasTest we come to realize that we all have innate biases. Poignant films, including topics of Social Justice, Civil Rights, anti-Semitism, and the Power of Comedy provide a balance to the interactivity of the Social Lab, giving moments for pause and reflection.

An interactive Bias Test shows our innate biases, while the introductory film, “Who Are We?,” connects us through the struggles of social injustice and inequality.

Benny Chan Architectural Photography

The Tolerance Lens combines visitor’s portraits and commitments to create a real-time data visualization as a digital kaleidoscope of what we stand for as a community.

Benny Chan Architectural Photography

At the Forum visitors collaborate to find best solutions to local and national issues such as Homelessness, Immigration, Equity in Policing, Public Health in the Pandemic, and Bigotry and Hatred.

Benny Chan Architectural Photography

Design + Execution

The culminating experience is designed to inspire us to make a difference as we leave the Social Lab and enter the world at large. Visitors are enveloped into a spoken word introductory film, “Who Are We?,” bringing to the forefront our interconnectedness through the struggles of social injustice and inequality. An angled hallway of mirrors prompts us, through reflection, to look inward as it opens to freeform path of discovery. Contemporary issues of social relevance are explored from an individual, communal, national, and global perspectives.

Information can be sent to visitors about relevant organizations working on the issues they are committed to. This experience facilitates transforming knowledge into action. As visitors exit through a poetic word gesture-based projection, as they move through a sea of negative words, their presence and actions bring light into the darkness. Positive words break through the negative sea, accompanied by inspirational quotes from those that have come before.

Through interactive activities, videos, data and infographics, at the Global Crisis Center visitors share
real-world issues, connecting to each other and the people and organizations who are making a difference.

Benny Chan Architectural Photography

We The People is a twenty-panel interactive wall that offers visitors an expansive context of United States history through the unique thematic lenses of Diversity, Intolerance and Rights.

Maureen Lin

Poignant films provide moments for pause and reflection on topics of Social Justice, Civil Rights, anti-Semitism, and the Power of Comedy.

Unified Field

This culminating experience transforms knowledge into action. People commit to an issue they care about at Empathy Vending Machines and exit through a poetic projection that brings light into darkness.

Benny Chan Architectural Photography

Unified Field
Project Details
This project challenges visitors to not just interact with content, but to use their interactions as a tool to examine their own biases, perspectives, and personal agency. Visitors are prompted to think about how we react to intolerance within ourselves, within our communities, and within the world. The positive, action-oriented conclusion of the exhibit encourages personal and societal ripple effects beyond the museum.
Juror 1
This exhibit examines pressing issues around intolerance with masterful use of custom produced film and simple interactions. I love how it directly engages the visitor around hard topics with no easy answers.
Juror 2
Design Team

Marla Supnick (principal-in-charge)
Maureen Lin (art director / lead designer)
Jeff Becker (director of creative technology)
Alisa Katz (project manager)
Sorn Bunnag, (producer)
Yuki Collins, Joyce Zheng (designers)
Ritesh Lala, Henry Tseng (lead programmers)


Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign (architecture)
Sierra Construction (fabrication)
Electrosonic, Inc. (digital fabrication)
HLB Lighting Design (lighting design)

Photo Credits

Benny Chan Architectural Photography
Daddy Ramazani (director)
Ava Rikki (director, director of photography)
Ashler Soter, Liz Holland (producers)
Kyle Mathers (editing, videography)

Open Date

August 2021