Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Reflecting on Life at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

One will never be able to fully understand the extent of another’s pain and struggles. Nevertheless, it’s important to try. It’s important to look at situations from various angles. It’s important to have empathy. Traveling has taught us the importance of respecting different cultures, different histories, and different beliefs. The world is a beautiful place with so many wonderful opportunities to connect with others who are different from us, and thankfully we have been able to meet some amazing people from all over the world.

But, with the good comes the bad, and not only have we read about injustice and lack of human rights in history books time and time again, we have also witnessed it firsthand, as well. Even today, the world is full of injustice, hatred, judgment, misunderstanding (intentional or not), bigotry, the stripping of basic human rights, and the list goes on.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Because of this, we as humans need to take steps to make the world we live in a better place, and I firmly believe that education and compassion are where we need to start. Enter the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is the first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. Our aim is to build not only a national hub for human rights learning and discovery, but a new era of global human rights leadership.” Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Located in Winnipeg, Canada, CMHR is the first national museum to be built outside of Canada’s National Capital Region. It is an interactive and immersive museum, and a fantastic way to learn about human rights. Uplifting and heavy all in one, if you walk into the museum with an open mind and a willingness to learn, you will walk out a different person.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

The museum’s purpose is to explore the human rights topic by promoting an understanding of human rights and a respect for others through discussion and reflection. Throughout the museum, you are encouraged to reflect on what human rights means to you, and as you wander through the various exhibits and galleries, you will certainly have lots to think about.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

There are several ways to visit the museum—you can explore and wander on your own, on a self-guided tour with the mobile app, on a guided tour, or any combination of the three, which is exactly what we did. When we arrived, we joined the Explore the Galleries Tour, which is a 90-minute tour for an additional cost of $5 per person. It was the perfect introduction to the museum, and we learned so much more than I ever expected. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and provided insights about the museum—we experienced several of the exhibits on a deeper level than we would have if we were just wandering through the museum on our own. If you have the chance, we would definitely recommend hopping on a tour!

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Because the tour is only 90 minutes long and the museum is so large, we weren’t able to discuss every exhibit. So, after the tour, we explored more of the museum on our own, and then had lunch in the delicious on-site café, ERA Bistro. They focus on serving locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, and everything we ordered was fantastic.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Even though we spent several hours inside CMHR, we didn’t even come close to fully experiencing everything they have to offer.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

We learned that the design of the building is full of Canadian symbolism—it represents the mountains, prairies, lighthouses and glaciers—all important aspects of the landscapes throughout the country. The base of the building was designed to look like roots as a reminder to keep yourself grounded, and the overlapping design on the windows is meant to represent dove’s wings as a sign of peace, tolerance and respect.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Throughout the inside of the museum, there is a ribbon of light that takes you on a journey from darkness to light. You start in a dimmer atmosphere in exhibits and galleries that explore a darker side of human rights and history. As you progress, the ribbon of light takes you through more uplifting exhibits and galleries where the lighting gets brighter and then all the way to the top of the building to the Tower of Hope. I loved the symbolism of the ribbon of light and felt it was an inspiring way to design the flow of the museum.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

I really enjoyed how interactive the exhibits and galleries were, as well. When you have a chance to actively engage with a subject, it becomes more meaningful and it sticks with you longer.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada
A few of the displays that we will never forget were the ones that happened in the very recent past—I’m still shocked that these instances happened within the last 50 years and some even in the past few years. For example:

It wasn’t until 1967 when the first woman ran in the Boston marathon, and during the race, her number was ripped as officials tried to pull her out of the race.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

It wasn’t until 1992 that the first openly gay Olympian won a gold medal.

It wasn’t until 2013 that the first integrated prom was held in Wilcox County High in southwest Georgia. Up until this point, proms were private, segregated events for students based on race. A few students decided to organize what they deemed “Integrated Prom”, and while it was a groundbreaking event for the community and a huge success (with around 150-200 attendees), many others still decided to attend the traditional, invitation only “white prom”. Thankfully though, this prom was a step in the right direction and hopefully, progress can continue.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

I can’t even comprehend that these instances are still going on even today, but it goes to show how important it is to raise awareness and speak up. Living in denial, hiding in your comfort zone, or not thinking outside of your own bubble benefits no one, not even yourself. We need to be open to the possibility of the injustice people face so that we can process the information and do something to help. With all that is going on in our world today, it’s so important to step back and look at how our actions and words affect others.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

I’ve always looked at education and awareness as important, and this museum just strengthened that belief. I left with new perspectives and an even stronger desire to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves, to fight alongside those who can and to spread as much kindness and compassion as possible. And I encourage you to do the same.

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Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada

Special thanks to Travel Manitoba and Canadian Museum for Human Rights for providing us with complimentary admission to the museum. As always, all opinions are our own. 

 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada, is a fantastic place to learn about human rights and reflect on life!
20 Comments
  • Tanvi Nadkarni
    Posted at 02:09h, 24 June Reply

    This museum is such an unique concept and also looks amazing! Hopefully I will be able to visit here one day ????

  • Jennifer
    Twitter:
    Posted at 03:57h, 24 June Reply

    Though I’m not really in to visiting most museums when I travel, one reason to at least stop by are the museum cafes. There are so many good ones these days that focus on quality, locally sourced food. You can have some really great meals at museum cafes and it sounds like CMHR’s fits the bill for that.
    Jennifer recently posted…Ghorepani: Trekking the Foothills of AnnapurnaMy Profile

  • Marcus and Mel
    Posted at 19:59h, 24 June Reply

    Looks an interesting and thought provoking museum and definitely worth a visit. Although looking at things at the moment, the tower of hope still feels some distance away.

  • Barbara Szekeres
    Posted at 01:35h, 25 June Reply

    I love the content of this museum. The food looks great too. It would be great to visit this museum and read about the history of these human rights heroes more, who are displayed on the wall.

  • Rahul Khurana
    Posted at 10:10h, 25 June Reply

    Absolutely loved the way you have described your thoughts on visiting this museum. I think I haven’t heard of a ‘human rights museum’ ever before. It should be visited by everyone so that we can learn more from our past incidents and improve for the betterment of humanity. The museum design is superb and loved those burgers and fries too. 🙂

  • Megan Jerrard
    Twitter:
    Posted at 21:04h, 25 June Reply

    Thanks for highlighting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights – I agree, I think museums like this are so important for educating society about the importance to compassion, equality, and to give us a little bit more empathy and perspective about other peoples pain. I truly believe that if we can start seeing each other as human beings, and look past race, culture, religion, then we would be living in a world with a lot less hatred and violence. It makes me so depressed to think about the state of the world and how we treat each other – I am so thankful that there are places like this who attempt to change minds and make a difference.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 01:09h, 27 June Reply

    Wow! Museums are kind of my favorite, and this one looks like a great visit! Atlanta just debuted our Center for Civil and Human Rights a few years ago, and I have yet to visit it. But you may have just inspired me to go! I love that this is becoming a more common topic of discussion and especially on a platform such as this. The building itself is also very striking. Way to go, Canada!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:36h, 02 July Reply

      The Center for Civil and Human Rights sounds like an interesting spot–would love to check it out! I love that these topics are becoming more common, as well. Hope you can check them both out sometime! 🙂
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Travel Fashion: Go Anywhere with Anywhere ApparelMy Profile

  • Darlene
    Twitter:
    Posted at 02:54h, 27 June Reply

    Very interesting museum. This is the first of its kind that i’ve heard of. Definitely a must-see. It sure is very thought-provoking too. And makes us feel grateful for how far we’ve come as a race.

  • Shruti Prabhu
    Posted at 08:22h, 27 June Reply

    I did not know there was a museum dedicated to human rights! That certainly seems interesting and educational. The fact that you go from darkness to light is a positive take on things. Glad to know that they are trying to be thought provoking but not negative.

  • Mike Cotton
    Posted at 11:23h, 27 June Reply

    I’ve yet to visit the Canadian Museum of Human Rights but I’ve certainly heard a lot about it. Winnipeg is the perfect location for it, too. The Integrated Prom exhibition – how is that even a thing in this day and age, as recently as 2013? Crazy world we live in at times.

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