Canada's new national museum was a bustling hive of activity during its first paid weekend, with sold-out visitor tours on September 27 and 28, a busy boutique and ERA Bistro, and several private events – including the first wedding and a reception for 600 police women from all over the world.
More than 2,700 people flowed through the doors of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) last weekend. They included 1,300 visitors on tours of galleries and architecture that ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day – both walk-up visitors and those who booked tours online. All tours were full, except for some of the French-language sessions. Tourists from outside of Manitoba and Canada made up an estimated 50 per cent of the weekend's visitors, hailing from as far away as Chile and Korea.
"It's so exciting to welcome everyone here for a human rights journey of inspiration, inside this stunning work of iconic architecture," said CMHR president and CEO Stuart Murray. "There is so much to see and learn and experience. The feedback we've received has been very positive. We heard great pride from Winnipeggers and a lot of enthusiasm from out-of-town visitors."
Sales at the Museum's boutique were so brisk that inventory had to be re-stocked during the day on Saturday, while the ERA Bistro welcomed more than 300 diners throughout its first weekend of operation.
Private events included a reception for 600 as part of the International Association of Women Police training conference; a Culture Days film screening for 500 people, with special guest Juan Flores, an Ashaninkan Elder and healer from the Peruvian Amazon; a wedding with 100 guests in ERA Bistro; and an event hosted by the Museum's general contractor, PCL Constructors Canada, for those who worked to make the building a reality, with 200 people in attendance.
Many of the Museum's galleries are near completion, with films, videos, digital interactive displays, an immersive multi-media show, artifacts and artwork to engage visitors in the human rights themes of the five galleries that are part of the initial afternoon 90-minute tour offerings. In the mornings, hour-long architecture tours provide a look at one of Canada's most amazing building. Both tours include a trip up the Israel Asper Tower of Hope for a panoramic view of the city and Prairie beyond. Family programs, involving arts and crafts with a human-rights theme, are also underway throughout the day.
Photos from September 27 can be viewed on Facebook.
A total of 265 Museum memberships have also been sold to date. Members are free to visit as many times as they wish and are now welcome on any tour throughout the day.
Until November 9, visitor entry to the Museum is being facilitated through guided tours while work is completed on its gallery spaces. The tours run every 15 minutes, with the last tour departing at 3:30 p.m., every day except Mondays, when the Museum is closed. They are being offered at the introductory rate of $10 a person, and $5 for children aged 7 to 13.
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 immersive multi-media technology and other innovative approaches, the Museum will create inspiring encounters with human rights as part of a visitor experience unlike any other.