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CMHR highlights human rights on Canada Day

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Outdoor public tours kick off Canada's History Week celebrations

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) will offer a day of free outdoor public tours on July 1 to celebrate Canada 147th birthday and highlight the evolution of human rights and responsibilities in the history of our nation. 

The outdoor tours will examine the history of human rights all around us, including French language rights and Indigenous treaty rights, and include a discussion about the CMHR and its architecture.

The tours, of approximately 30 minutes in duration, will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 1 on a first-come, first-served basis, departing from the CMHR's Canada Day booth located behind the Museum near the Esplanade Riel. The public is also invited to drop by the booth for information about the CMHR, which officially opens on September 20, 2014.

Canada Day is the beginning of Canada's History Week, which was officially established in 2013 as the first week in July — an occasion for Canadians to learn more about our history through local and national activities and events, especially as we approach Canada's 150th birthday in 2017.

During the week, the CMHR will help raise awareness of the people and events that have shaped our nation from a human rights perspective – and their connection to the content of this new national museum. Information will be shared on CMHR social media channels, highlighting how the Museum fits with the daily themes of the week, on Twitter @CMHR_News and Facebook. 

July 1: Discovering our national museums. The CMHR is the first national museum built since 1967 and the first established outside the National Capital Region. Its mandate is to explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public's understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue. The only museum in the world devoted entirely to the concept of human rights, it is designed as an educational journey of inspiration.

July 2: Discovering our historic sites. The CMHR is proud to be located directly beside The Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg, which is dedicated to preserving and presenting the 6,000-year history of human presence and activity at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. An archaeological dig conducted beneath the CMHR site in 2008 contributed more evidence in support of First Nations oral traditions that The Forks has been a place of peaceful meeting and dialogue among diverse peoples.

July 3: Discovering our Archives. The CMHR Archives are home to an oral history collection of recorded interviews that tell the extraordinary human rights stories of ordinary people, in their own words. This collection, along with other public and private-sector material that includes digital records, moving images, still images and textual records, are designed to make our human rights history come alive. Library and Archives Canada has been a valuable resource for the CMHR.

July 4: People shaping Canada. CMHR exhibits will be full of the personal stories of people whose experiences have affected the human rights challenges and achievements of our country. The CMHR collections are centred on our recorded oral histories stories of people with lived human rights experience – with portions imbedded in many exhibit presentations.

July 5: History through film. Film and video are integral to the storytelling approach of the CMHR. The Museum will contain over 100 hours of video, three short original feature films, 26 small format films, 512 video clips, a 360-degree surround film and an immersive multimedia experience. There are seven theatres in the Museum.

July 6: Art and history. The power of art will be used to help express human rights messages in the CMHR. The Museum will include 10 originally commissioned works of art, including a massive new installation, called "Trace", by celebrated Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore. Several other artists have agreed to exhibit their work in the gallery spaces – often as key elements of human rights stories.

July 7: Youth and Aboriginal experiences. Children's rights and young voices are an important part of CMHR exhibits. One gallery, called "Actions Count" is entirely devoted to a youthful focus on human rights in Canada, ranging from activities about classroom bullying to exhibits on cross-cultural understanding through Peace Camp in Ottawa and the establishment of a Francophone school division in Manitoba.

Aboriginal human rights issues are a major cross-cutting theme of the CMHR, with stories imbedded in every one of its galleries – including an introductory gallery entirely focused on First Nation, Métis and Inuit perspectives about humanity's responsibilities to each other and to the land.

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