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CMHR works with Canadian War Museum to present “Peace” as first temporary exhibit

News release details

Developed by the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, this travelling exhibition explores the ways that Canadians have defined, made and kept peace at home and around the world. Peace is examined on three levels: how we negotiate to obtain and protect it; how we organize and demonstrate to demand it; and, sometimes, how we fight to achieve it.

"This cooperation between the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Canadian War Museum will help highlight an important aspect of our nation's history and identity," said the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, during a news conference at the CMHR today. "The diversity of Canadians' choices and actions for peace has helped shape this country. I commend this excellent initiative, which will help ensure that Canadians have access to our rich heritage today and into the future."

The full exhibition was presented at the Canadian War Museum from May 2013 to January 2014. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax is currently hosting components of the exhibit until October 19, 2014. The CMHR will present the travelling exhibition when it opens in September. More information can be found in the attached backgrounder.

"We welcome this opportunity to work with another national museum to help tell our country's rich and diverse human rights story," said CMHR president and CEO Stuart Murray. "Peace and human rights rely on each other. When the Charter of the United Nations was drafted after the Second World War, respect for human rights was identified as a key pathway to world peace. The pursuit of both peace and human rights requires us to make choices, take action and uphold our responsibilities to each other as fellow human beings. That makes 'Peace – The Exhibition' a wonderful complement to our own exploration of human rights. "

Mark O'Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History, a federal Crown Corporation that operates the Canadian War Museum, said the exhibit provides a unique opportunity for museum visitors to experience the stories of Canadians in diverse and sometimes conflicting roles in pursuit of peace.

"This exhibition is designed to show how peace is not simply the opposite of war – it's far more complex," he said at the news conference. "Canadians are presented as combatants, peacekeepers, activists, diplomats, humanitarians, and more. We are very pleased that the War Museum's exhibition will be presented at the opening of Canada's new national museum."

The Expressions gallery is generously supported by the Richardson Foundation and the Richardson family.

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 will create inspiring encounters with human rights appropriate for all ages, in a visitor experience unlike any other.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada's national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada's military history in its personal, national and international dimensions. Responsibility for its operation falls under the purview of the Canadian Museum of History, a federal Crown Corporation which runs a total of five national museums.

Backgrounder

Peace – The Exhibition

, a travelling exhibition developed by the Canadian War Museum (curated by Dr. Amber Lloydlangston) vividly illustrates the diversity of Canadian's choices and actions for peace, and how these actions have helped shape Canada's history.

It is organized under three themes, each represented by historical episodes:

Negotiate

This section explores the key role played by Canada's Lester B. Pearson in resolving the 1956 Suez Crisis through negotiation and the establishment of the first United Nations Emergency Force, which included Canadian peacekeepers. Visitors will also learn about the heated national debate over Canada's response to the Suez Crisis.

Organize

Canadians reacted to the global challenge of living with nuclear weapons in very different ways. In this section, visitors examine these reactions through stories about key nuclear events such as disarmament protests, the "Diefenbunker", and the testing of American cruise missiles in Canada.

Intervene:

This section documents Canada's intervention in Afghanistan, including its combat role, work to promote development and rebuild state structures and the role of individuals and non-governmental organizations to help the Afghan people.

Personal stories:

Visitors to the exhibit will encounter many stories of individuals, families and groups associated with the three episodes above, including anti-nuclear activist Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing who later moved to Canada and was eventually awarded the Order of Canada for her work against nuclear weapons; General E.L.M. Burns, a Canadian who was the first commander of the first UN Peacekeeping force; and "Skateistan", an international charitable organization with Canadian support and participation that uses skateboarding to connect with and educate Afghan youth, especially marginalized street kids.

Peace – The Exhibition will be open for public viewing in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights' "Expressions" gallery when it opens in September 2014.

Media contacts

Maureen Fitzhenry