“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
I was told that the most impressive feature of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was the building itself but this couldn’t be more wrong. Sure, the building is gorgeous. It was carefully and thoughtfully designed by Antoine Predock, who incorporated meaning into every facet of the facility. From the darkness of humanity simulated by beginning the museum partially underground to the beacon of light symbolized by reaching the top floor with expansive views of the city, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is an architectural marvel.
However, the museum itself is equally fantastic. I thought that one 3-hour morning would be enough but that wasn’t the case. If you really want to dive into everything, you’ll need longer. I decided to jump on the 1.5-hour tour, which is a great way to get oriented with the museum and its different floors. The tour gives you insight into the building, the layout, the galleries and the intention of the museum. Unlike most museums that layout artifacts and historic items, this museum is designed to provoke discussion and inspiration into the movement of humanity.
You’ll learn about many heart-wrenching atrocities that have happened all over the world and within Canada. It’s the Canadian Museum of Human Rights after all. I was devastated to learn about things that have happened in Canada such as indigenous children being stolen from their families and given to white families, women’s rights, labour movements, discrimination and so much more. In terms of the world, you’ll learn about the holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the Rwandan genocide, and many others.
I felt sad and shocked reading about some of the horrible things that have happened both around the world and in Canada but I also left inspired. After all, how can one not be inspired after reading about the amazing people who brought these horrible atrocities to light and changed the world. People such as Nelson Mandela and Malala, to name a few.
This is what I loved about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Although the subject matter is painful and sometimes difficult to learn about, you’ll actually leave inspired and ready to make the world a better place. These are the things every Canadian (or anyone for that matter) should know about. I hope that one day there will be a Canadian Museum of Human Rights in every city in the country and something similar in every country on Earth. It’s places like this that can foster the discussion needed to make this world a better place.
Had you been to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights? What did you think?
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My husband and I were there last month. Incredible. Did you see the Witness Blanket? very cool project about the residential schools. Witnessblanket.ca
Matthew G. Bailey says
Awesome! It’s been a year since I was there but I believe we did because learning about some of the atrocities committed against the indigenous was what really impacted me. Really wish we had one of these in every city, although the price tag of $350 million is quite steep 🙂
Doreen Pendgracs says
Thanks for this fabulous post, Matthew. I live in Manitoba, but admit to not yet having been to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Partly because I know the exhibits hold a lot of emotion and I haven’t been ready for that. And partly because , as you say, you pretty much need a full day to fully explore the museum. Hopefully, I will get there in 2017 for Canada 150. Nice to discover your blog. I, too, am one of the Top 100 Best Travel Blogs as named by Flight Network.
Matthew G. Bailey says
It’s funny. I live in Calgary and have yet to be to the Glenbow museum here, which is supposed to be great. But yes, the CMHR is an incredible place. Even the architecture alone is fabulous. It can be emotional but it does touch on some inspiration as well 🙂