Getting out of the Basement

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Grace from Get Out of the Basement stands in front of the REDdress Project, a visual art installation by Jaime Black that addresses the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

How did you spend your summer vacation?

Get Out of the Basement Team visits the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

As summer draws to a close and high schools across Canada open their doors to students once again, many teens will be looking back wistfully at the summer that was. How did you spend your summer vacation?

For one group of teenagers, the answer is: “We spent our vacation seeing every part of our city and province we possibly could and then writing, blogging and posting on social media about it!” Get Out of the Basement is a group of teens determined to show their peers that there’s plenty to see and do in Winnipeg and Manitoba.

The Museum was lucky enough to be visited by five of these intrepid explorers, and then had the chance to ask two of them – Georgia and Grace – what they thought about their experience.

Q: What surprised you about your visit? What did you find that you hadn’t expected?

Grace: I was surprised by the feeling I had when I finished walking through the exhibits. At the beginning of the tour, we experienced exhibits that were the most difficult for me to take in. There was no daylight shining through windows, only dim lighting which covered the room in silence. As we continued through the Museum, the exhibits started brightening more and more, changing the mood. When we arrived at the Tower of Hope, I was relieved. I didn’t expect that.

The ceiling of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The view from the Stuart Clark Garden of Contemplation up to the Israel Asper Tower of Hope. Photo: Get Out of the Basement

Q: What did you enjoy most about your visit to the Museum?

Georgia: I enjoyed learning about the more recent human rights issues. It was interesting to take a close look at the world as it is today. I loved that there were many interactive exhibits. It was much more effective in advocating and educating than a museum in which visitors only look at old artifacts.

Q: What story or exhibit made a strong impression on you?

Grace: The exhibit that left a strong impression on me was From Sorrow to Strength, which recognized Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women. It displayed empty red dresses in a forest-like background. To me, it’s a memorial for those who cannot wear the dresses anymore. I really appreciated and was engaged by the creativity of that exhibit.

Q: Why should teens come visit the Museum?

Georgia: It is essential for the younger generation to learn and understand the faults of history. The CMHR is an amazing place for learning about these issues. There is only so much you can learn sitting in a desk in a classroom. You have to get out there and interact with the history, engage with it. In the Museum, there are interactive exhibits, like the voting station, that help teens realize how their actions matter and how important it is for them to take action against human rights violations.

If you want to hear more about what the folks at Get Out of the Basement thought of the CMHR, check out their website. You can read more from Georgia and Grace and learn what Sam thought about the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour at the Museum. Many more youths will come to the Museum this fall as our school programs resume, as well as visit on their own or with their families.