It’s a place where stories carry emotional weight, yet moving through it can leave you inspired. It’s where a light shines on the missteps from long ago, yet forces you to recognize some of its stories are straight from today’s news.

A few weeks ago, the entire team at Travel Manitoba received a two-hour tour of all 11 galleries in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. From “What are Human Rights?” to “Breaking the Silence” to “Inspiring Change” our excellent tour guide, Thiane Diop, imparted her in-depth knowledge and gave us time to touch and be touched.

I thought my first visit to the CMHR was going to take me down a dark and sad path. And it does – rightfully so – hold those heavy chronicles of injustices, but when I walked out the door, it was the tales of human courage and strength that resonated. I had just left a place where I learned about the ordinary doing the extraordinary. And that’s inspiring!

After the tour, our entire group spent the rest of the day discussing what we saw and how it made us feel. It was a great way to continue the discussion on a topic that is essential to all of us.

Personally, I feel like I’ve only skimmed the surface of what I can see and learn at the CMHR. This is absolutely one of the best museums I’ve been in. It doesn’t lean on artifacts to get you in the door. Instead, its focus is us, the humans who have shaped this interesting world we live in. I foresee this place being a mirror to our humanity for each other; as we evolve, so will it.

Visitor tips

Here are a few tips to guarantee a quality visit:

  • Take a guided tour. I can’t stress enough how helpful the tour was for our group. Our guide opened our eyes to so many interesting stories and gave us in-depth opportunities to discover and discuss the Museum’s galleries.
  • You can take photos. Just make sure that flash is turned off.
  • Make a day of it. There are so many ways to interact with the galleries that you’ll find you lose track of time.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Those alabaster ramps are no joke, there’s nearly a kilometre of them.
  • Go up to the Tower of Hope and look out at a spectacular view of the city.
  • Don’t leave without writing an “I imagine…” card (or read a few that are already on the wall).
  • Plan to spend some time afterwards reflecting on what you saw. These stories stay with you, so it’s good to find a spot to sit with your fellow museum-goers and talk about your experience. The Museum’s Garden of Contemplation or ERA bistro are both fine places to do that.