CMHR prepares to host centuries-old Magna Carta as first exhibit in brand new gallery

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News release details

The centuries‐old Magna Carta on loan from Durham Cathedral in the United Kingdom will be part of the first exhibition mounted in a new state‐of‐the‐art gallery created to host temporary exhibits on Level One of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).

"Magna Carta – Law, Liberty and Legacy" celebrates the 800th anniversary of the historic document that set the groundwork for many concepts that continue to define democratic life today, such as the principle that no one is above the law of the land. 

"The Fathers of Confederation were unanimous the new country of Canada should be based upon the concepts of freedom, democracy and the rule of law, all of which are expressed in the Magna Carta," said the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. "On this, the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the Government of Canada is proud to support this important document's trip across Canada, including a stop in Winnipeg at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I encourage Manitobans to take the time to visit the Magna Carta and to celebrate everything that makes Canada strong, proud and free."

"This new exhibition gives Canadians a rare opportunity to see one of the world's most compelling historic documents," said CMHR interim President and CEO Gail Stephens. "In the Magna Carta's 800th anniversary year, the CMHR is pleased to present a unique opportunity to explore how a medieval document continues to inform democratic life in Canada." 

The ideals of Magna Carta became the basis for freedom, democracy and rule of law in England and later in the Commonwealth, and influenced struggles for independence in countries around the world. Canada's system of government has historic links to Magna Carta, including our constitutional right to due process. 

Visitors to "Magna Carta – Law, Liberty and Legacy" will also have a unique opportunity to see a companion exhibition created and presented exclusively by the CMHR. "Canada's Magna Carta: Meanings and Misconceptions," will allow visitors to explore the similarities between Magna Carta and some of Canada's foundational documents, such as the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982. 

The CMHR will also offer special program activities related to this exhibition including lectures, curatorial talks and hands‐on activities for all ages. 

"Magna Carta – Law, Liberty and Legacy" opens in the new Level One gallery on Saturday, August 15, 2015. A special exhibition fee will be charged in addition to regular gallery admission fees. CMHR members may visit at no additional cost. 

Magna Carta – Law, Liberty and Legacy will be on display at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights from August 15 to September 18, 2015. This exhibition was developed by Magna Carta Canada. The Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest are on loan from Durham Cathedral in the United Kingdom, and the tour has been organized by Lord Cultural Resources, with the generous support of the Government of Canada. The Winnipeg portion of the tour is generously supported by The Paul Albrechtsen Foundation.

About Magna Carta Canada
Magna Carta Canada (MCC) is a charitable organization committed to educating and engaging Canadians about the issues and legacies that resonate from Magna Carta, and its companion document, the Charter of the Forest. In commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the issuance of Magna Carta, MCC will bring both iconic documents from England to Canada for a national exhibition. A companion book, Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada, and national education program are also part of this initiative. Magna Carta Canada is generously supported by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta and RBC Foundation. For more information, please visit Magna Carta Canada website.

About the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. Using multimedia technology and other innovative approaches, the CMHR creates inspiring encounters with human rights for all ages, in a visitor experience unlike any other. 

Maureen Fitzhenry
CMHR media relations manager

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Maureen Fitzhenry