Exploring with Children Aged 7 to 12

There’s a lot to see and do at the Museum – more than can be done in a single visit. This section provides a guide for visiting with children aged 7 to 12, to help you plan your visit.

This suggested pathway through the Museum takes about one hour.

Level 1: Bonnie & John Buhler Hall

  • This building is an adventure! Did you know that the Museum’s architecture represents an ascent from darkness to light? Starting below ground level in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall, you can take a quest-like journey up a stunning series of ramps connecting the galleries. Near the top, you can take a glass elevator ride to the viewing platform on the Tower of Hope.
  • As you start your journey, do you see a projection of people writing “Welcome” on a wall in many languages? This tells you that everyone is welcome at the Museum. No matter where you’re from, how old you are or what your abilities are, you belong here.
  • Try putting your foot in the bronze cast of a human footprint. Just imagine: hundreds of years ago, someone wearing a moccasin left this print on the land where the Museum now stands.

Level 2: Indigenous Perspectives

  • In the Indigenous Perspectives gallery, sit inside the circular theatre to watch a short, family-friendly film about Indigenous ways of viewing rights and responsibilities. On the wraparound movie screen, you’ll meet people from four generations and explore the idea that everyone and everything is interconnected.
  • On the outside of the theatre, look at the colourful spirit panel artworks. To see and hear how Indigenous youth from across Canada participated in making these panels, look for the touchscreen monitors near the theatre. 

Level 2: Canadian Journeys

  • In the centre of the Canadian Journeys gallery, join in the motion-sensor Lights of Inclusion game. Watch how your movements activate a “bubble” of coloured light on the floor around you. What happens when you interact and cooperate with other players?
  • Also in this gallery, you’ll encounter stories from across Canada about people’s efforts to protect rights and freedoms. Try visiting these story alcoves for unique experiences:
    • One Woman’s Resistance is about Viola Desmond’s challenge to racial segregation. Sit in a theatre seat and watch a video that shows how Desmond’s experience in a Nova Scotia movie theatre made her stand up for equality.
    • Inclusion for All is about rights of people with disabilities. As you turn the pages of an interactive book, you shine light on artifacts connected to stories of strength and resilience.
    • Escape From Oppression is about the Underground Railroad, the secret network that helped people escape from slavery in the United States to freedom in Canada. Imagine you’re travelling through a forest, hearing freedom songs that convey secret information.
    • Banned From the Ballot is about the right to vote, which no one should ever take away from a Canadian citizen. Try the interactive quiz to see whether you would have been allowed to vote in Canada’s 1917 election.

Level 3: Protecting Rights in Canada

  • In the Protecting Rights in Canada gallery, find the map of Canada made out of people. Look at the words in this map that relate to the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Discover how the Charter safeguards important rights and freedoms for every Canadian.

Level 3: Garden of Contemplation

  • In the Garden of Contemplation, take a break and relax. This peaceful, open space with a soaring ceiling is a great place to appreciate the building’s glass “cloud,” notice Museum staff working on the mezzanine levels, and gaze up at the towering elevator shaft and spiral staircase that lead to the Tower of Hope.

Level 4: Turning Points for Humanity

  • In the Turning Points for Humanity gallery, find the story of John Humphrey, the Canadian who wrote the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Now, spot the digital books – tall video monitors that look like four upright, open books. Try standing in front of one and use arm gestures to control the video. You can choose the theme of children’s rights and view a story about children working for peace.
  • On the reverse side of the digital books, discover rights defenders from other countries who have been recognized as Honorary Canadians. Which one would you most like to meet?

Level 4: Actions Count

  • In the Actions Count gallery, get your swiping hand ready to play at the It’s Your Choice Interactive Table. Using animated characters, this multi-player game lets you role-play and make choices about scenarios, such as starting a sports team for youth or combatting bullying. Don’t hesitate to ask a staff member for help. This game might inspire you to organize something in your school or neighbourhood!

Level 5: Rights Today

In the Rights Today gallery, find the display of Everyday Objects such as cell phones and plastic bags. Explore how items we use every day are connected to human rights in both positive and negative ways. Did you know you can make a soccer ball out of plastic bags?

Also in this gallery, look for touch-screen monitors and artifact cases that tell stories about Canadian Human Rights Defenders. Buffy Sainte-Marie, who spreads messages through music, and Craig Kielburger, who started working for human rights at the age of 12, are two of the activists profiled here.  

Level 7: Inspiring Change

In the Inspiring Change gallery, write or draw a personal human rights message on an Imagine Card. Use the colourful pens and blank cards to envision a better world in any way you wish. Then add your card to the display.

Also in this gallery, explore Music Listening Stations. Put on a set of headphones, choose a song related to human rights, and select colours to express your emotional response. Do you think music has power to help change the world? 

Level 7: Tower of Hope

Just outside the Inspiring Change gallery, you can start your climb – by staircase or elevator – to the Tower of Hope. After seeing the panoramic view, you can use the elevators to return to the main entrance, or walk down using the Museum’s system of ramps.