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Museum celebrates 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A man wearing an eagle-feather headdress, holding a pipe, kneels over a fur pelt in a room that resembles a small prison cell.

Photo: CMHR-Steve Chronic

News release details

Free admission, citizenship ceremony, in-gallery activity on Sunday

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with free admission, a citizenship ceremony, a youth choir performance and a special in-gallery activity this Sunday (December 9).

International Human Rights Day is December 10, but because the Museum is closed on Mondays during the winter, the anniversary will be celebrated on December 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to applaud Canada’s newest citizens during a ceremony at 11 a.m. in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall. The Louis Riel School Division Treble Choir performs at 1 p.m. in the Stuart Clark Garden of Contemplation.

A special family activity will be offered all day in the Turning Points for Humanity gallery on Level 4, which is dedicated to interpreting the UDHR and other international conventions for human rights. Participants will be challenged to match dozens of photos with the 30 articles of the Declaration. They can then take their own photos and share their thoughts online, where the Museum has been exploring the 30 articles every day for the 30 days leading up to December 10 on its social media platforms.

Visitors are also invited to explore the Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibition, where they can design a digital protest poster, or search for hidden secrets of the underground resistance.

WHAT: Universal Declaration of Human Rights anniversary

WHEN: Sunday, December 9
 Citizenship ceremony – 11 a.m.
 Choir performance – 1 p.m.
 In gallery activity – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: CMHR, 85 Israel Asper Way

The Museum’s Turning Points for Humanity gallery introduces visitors to the articles of the UDHR, drafted in response to the devastation and horrors of the Second World War. A Canadian named John Peters Humphrey was one of its key authors. Original pages of his handwritten drafts can be found in the gallery. The Declaration is presented on a wide, overhead screen in child-friendly text produced by the Council of Europe.

Large, standing “digital books” use gesture-based technology to play videos about people around the world taking action to uphold the articles and spirit of the UDHR. Visitors activate the stories by standing in a pool of light and pointing at the film they want to watch.

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Media contacts

Maureen Fitzhenry