CMHR to celebrate Human Rights Day with free entry, special events

Tags for CMHR to celebrate Human Rights Day with free entry, special events

News release details

World leader in disability rights kicks off year‐long focus on inclusion 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) will be alive with activity on International Human Rights Day (December 10) – celebrated with free public admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A citizenship ceremony, fun family programs – including colourful human rights boats sailing on the Museum's indoor pond – and the Museum's annual public meeting are among the day's events.

The Museum also welcomes world‐renowned disability rights advocate Judith Heumann from Washington, D.C., who works as a special advisor in the U.S. State Department. Heumann will speak about the history of the international disability rights movement during a lunch‐hour presentation in the Stuart Clark Garden of Contemplation. A biography is attached.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Museum will put a special focus on inclusion and accessibility during 2016, including a remarkable exhibition that runs from February to September, centred on the works of the world's most accomplished blind photographers.

What: International Human Rights Day

When: Thursday, December 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Schedule attached)

Where: CMHR, 85 Israel Asper Way

A major highlight of the day features 40 newcomers receiving their Canadian citizenship during a special ceremony at 1:30 p.m. in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall. The Museum is proud to partner with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the Multiculturalism Secretariat of the Province of Manitoba to host this event. Photography and videography are permitted during the ceremony.

Family programs include interactive live art, a theatrical performance, a human rights sing‐along and scavenger hunts. Museum researcher‐curators will be positioned in three galleries throughout the day to talk about disability rights, women's rights and reconciliation – the CMHR's featured themes for 2016.

The public is also invited to meet the CMHR management team during the annual public meeting that begins at 3 p.m. A presentation of annual highlights and upcoming events will be followed by a question‐and‐answer period.

Schedule of events – International Human Rights Day at the CMHR

Bonnie & John Buhler Hall – Main Stage

10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.Performance: The Gift 

This 30‐minute theatrical production uses masks and audience participation to explore the expression of love and the idea of gift‐giving. Ideal for families and kids of all ages.

11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.Human Rights Sing‐Along 

Choirs and the public are invited to raise their voices together in song. All ages and singing abilities are welcome to this celebration of music and human rights.

1:30 p.m.Citizenship Ceremony

Newcomers are welcomed into the Canadian family, as they accept all the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship.

3 p.m.Annual Public Meeting

Meet the Museum's senior management team and learn about the ways that Canada's new national museum is having an impact. A question and answer period will follow.

All day (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Family scavenger hunt and ideas for your visit

Explore the Museum with a scavenger hunt! Staff will also be on hand to share ideas to help you get the most from your visit. 

Stuart Clark Garden of Contemplation

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Special guest presentation by renowned disability rights advocate Judith Heumann

A keynote presentation on the history of the international disability rights movement.

10 a.m. — 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. — 5 p.m.Art of Inclusion

This bilingual, interactive activity is designed to engage visitors of all ages in conversation and creativity. Participants make colourful paper boats with human rights messages – led by artists from La Maison des artistes visuels francophones. Finished boats will set sail on the Garden's pond.

In the galleries

10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.Meet a Researcher‐Curator

Museum researcher‐curators will be available in three galleries – Canadian Journeys, Rights Today and Inspiring Change – to talk about disability rights, women's rights and reconciliation, which are the CMHR`s focus themes for 2016.


Judith Heumann is an internationally recognized leader in the disability community and a lifelong civil rights advocate. She is currently the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the United States Department of State. 

From 2002 to 2006, Heumann served as the World Bank's first Advisor on Disability and Development, where she helped expand the Bank's knowledge and capability to work with governments and civil society to improve policies, programs, and projects affecting people with disabilities around the world. 

From 1993 to 2001, Heumann served in the Clinton Administration as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education. Heumann was responsible for the implementation of legislation at the national level for programs in special education, disability research, vocational rehabilitation and independent living, serving more than eight million youths and adults with disabilities.

For more than 30 years, Heumann has been involved on the international front working with disabled people's organizations and governments around the world to advance the human rights of disabled people. She has been active with Disabled Peoples' International, Rehabilitation International and numerous Independent Living Centers throughout the world. She co‐founded the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley California and the World Institute on Disability in Oakland California.

In the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, she is featured as part of a short video documentary about the 1977 San Francisco Sit‐In for improvements to U.S. laws protecting disability rights. The video plays in one of the huge, interactive digital "books" located in the "Turning Points for Humanity" gallery.

Heumann graduated from Long Island University in 1969 and received her Masters in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley in 1975. She has received numerous awards, as well as an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Long Island University in Brooklyn, an Honorary Doctorate of Public Administration from the University of Illinois, Champaign, and an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of Toledo.

Media contacts

Maureen Fitzhenry