CMHR welcoming an increasing number of visitors from across Canada and the world: Annual Public Meeting

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News release details

Over 60 per cent of visitors to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in 2016–17 came from outside of Winnipeg, the Museum announced at its Annual Public Meeting held in Vancouver today. 

Growing recognition of the CMHR as a world‐renowned tourism destination is the result of national and international media coverage along with partnerships and collaboration with human rights organizations around the world, CMHR President & CEO John Young noted.

"The Museum is increasingly recognized as a place where we can better understand who we are as Canadians and where we aspire to go together," said Dr. Young. "We are building an international reputation in the cultural world, in global architecture and design circles and in the world of human rights discourse."

Within its first three years of operations, the CMHR received a Signature Experience designation from Destination Canada, which will continue to build the Museum's reputation with international tour operators and attract visitors from Destination Canada target markets in Europe, Asia and Australia.

The Museum enters the 2018–19 fiscal year on sound financial footing, following the resolution of the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) issue in Budget 2016 and the additional $35 million in funding over six years provided in Budget 2018 to offset the $35 million in advanced appropriations committed in 2012. 

As part of its focus on ensuring long‐term financial sustainability, the Museum launched a sponsorship program in December 2017. Sponsorship will enable the CMHR to expand the reach of the stories it tells, Dr. Young noted, welcoming TD Bank Group as the Contributing Partner to the Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibition, which opens at the Museum in June 2018. 

Museum Board Chair Pauline Rafferty discussed the ongoing work the Museum is doing to improve its policies and procedures as a new cultural institution. "Conversations about gender violence, equity and respectful work environments took place in living rooms, board rooms and chat rooms around the world over the past year," Rafferty said, adding those same conversations were taking place at the CMHR.

The Museum's management and union have proactively reached out to staff, sending a message emphasizing the shared responsibility for a respectful workplace environment and highlighting existing policies, Rafferty noted.

"All Board members will receive a copy of the Museum's Respectful Workplace Policy and an overview of the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which they will personally be asked to sign every year," Rafferty said.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. It is the first national museum in Canada to be built outside the National Capital Region. Using multimedia technology and other innovative approaches, the Museum creates inspiring encounters with human rights appropriate for all ages, in a visitor experience unlike any other.

A few highlights of 2016–17 at the CMHR

  • The Museum presented four diverse exhibitions around Canada150. 1867: Rebellion & Confederation, developed by the Canadian Museum of History and adapted by the CMHR, was one of the most artefact‐rich exhibitions presented at the Museum, featuring 124 artefacts.
  • Seven diverse Canadians from different parts of the country shared their human rights experiences in Our Canada, My Story. The CMHR was able to expand the reach of these stories through digital engagement, with videos reaching over half a million people online.
  • The crowd‐sourced photography exhibition Points of View received submissions from every region of Canada, with winning photographs selected from Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
  • Visitors to the Museum continue to express extremely high levels of satisfaction, with over 96% satisfied or very satisfied and 95% inspired by their visit.
  • To date, the CMHR has received 38 national and international awards and honours, for aspects ranging from exhibit design and technology, to architecture and construction, to education and inclusive design.
  • As a space and forum for dialogue about human rights, the Museum continued to develop online engagement opportunities. A blog post about the demolition of Africville in Nova Scotia reached over 100,000 people through online sharing, part of a series of blogs the CMHR published in February 2017 to mark Black History Month. 

Looking ahead at 2018–19

  • The Museum was incredibly honoured to be included on the new $10 banknote featuring iconic civil rights champion Viola Desmond. When the new banknote begins circulating later this year, the CMHR will hold a public bill exchange event in Winnipeg.
  • Nelson Mandela's story of resistance, resilience and reconciliation continues to inspire Canadians and people around the world. The CMHR will open Mandela: Struggle for Freedom, a new blockbuster exhibition, in June 2018. Developed in partnership with the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, this multi‐media exhibition will include a replica of the 7 x 8 jail cell that was his home for 18 of his 27 years in prison, along with a ballot box from South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994.
  • As the CMHR continues to focus on digital engagement and dialogue with Canadians and people from around the world, the Museum will formally launch a new, dialogic‐based website, with a focus on human rights storytelling.
  • The Museum continues to look for ways to ensure there are no financial barriers to visitation. In addition to offering free admission on the first Wednesday evening of every month, the CMHR will continue to offer a special $5 after 5 p.m. promotion on all other Wednesday evenings.