Prepare Your Visit
Know the Child, Evaluate the Content
- Many exhibits at the Museum tell hopeful, inspiring stories. Parents and caregivers should be aware, however, that human rights subject matter can be complex and emotionally challenging. Some exhibits show how people have mistreated others. A few exhibits may not be suitable for children under 13 because they include stories, images or sounds that deal with violence or abuse.
- Check out the guide for suggestions based on age level. These provide points of interest and exhibit recommendations for exploring the Museum with children. Remember, parents and caregivers know best how a particular child may react to certain subject matter. It’s important to monitor children in your care and determine which exhibits you feel are appropriate for them to engage with.
- Children and teens, like adults, may find that some stories told in the exhibits make them feel shocked, sad, angry or powerless. Other stories may make them feel happy, courageous, deeply moved or inspired. Be prepared to reassure children and validate their feelings. You might want to talk about compassion: It makes us sad when people are excluded or mistreated, but it also motivates us to take action and help.
Plan Your Visit
A spontaneous visit to the Museum can be just as engaging and educational as a planned one. But if you have time for some preparation to enhance children’s experience, here are a few suggestions:
- Talk about human rights stories from your own experience. Maybe someone in your family has fought for education, health or workers’ rights. Maybe someone you know has faced discrimination based on their ethnic origin or disability. A discussion about bullying can be a good starting point for talking about everyone’s right to safety, respect and dignity.
- Visit your local library to find age-appropriate books and audiovisual materials on human rights themes.
- Check out the resources on the Museum website under the heading “Learn”, such as Human Rights Activities, the Canadian Human Rights Toolkit and Speak Truth to Power Canada. These resources, provided for teachers, are also rich sources of ideas for parents and caregivers. They can point you to age-appropriate videos, websites, activities and much more.
- Every child in the world has rights. To learn what they are, you can find simplified versions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the UNICEF website.
- Talk with children and teens about showing respect for other visitors and behaving appropriately in the Museum.
- Don’t run, push, engage in horseplay or make noise that disturbs others.
- Food, drinks, water, candy and gum are not allowed in the galleries.
- Try not to walk in front of visitors who are looking at exhibits. Walk behind them instead.
- Be patient and polite when waiting your turn for an activity or interactive exhibit.
- Don’t touch, climb on or lean against glass cases or glass railings.
- Use only pencils in the galleries; pens, crayons and markers are not allowed.
At the Museum
- Wear comfortable shoes for lots of walking.
- Dress warmly. Due to the preservation needs of artifacts, the Museum maintains temperatures of 19 to 20°C (66 to 68°F). We encourage you to bring a sweater.
- At the Ticketing and Information desk, you’ll find printed gallery guides in English and French, as well as information on tours and programs.
- To help you experience the Museum at your own pace, you may choose to use the Museum’s free mobile app. It contains a self-guided tour (using audio, images, text and video), an interactive map and many other features. It includes an interactive “mood meter” that lets visitors of all ages track how they feel as they experience the exhibits. You can download the app to your iOS or Android device, or borrow a loaded device for free at the Ticketing and Information desk. The app is available in English, French, American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).
- Staff can direct you to the Coat Room and washrooms with baby-change stations. Strollers for visitors’ use are available at the Coat Room on a first-come, first-served basis, or you can use your own stroller throughout the Museum.
- All backpacks, large bags (including diaper bags), shopping bags, packages and umbrellas must be checked at the Coat Room. If required, a mesh bag will be provided to carry any belongings you need for the day.
- The Museum is committed to accessibility and inclusion. If a member of your family or group has special needs, you are welcome to contact the Museum in advance at (204) 289-2000 and we will make every effort to meet your specific needs. All the videos in our exhibits include open captioning, descriptive video, American Sign Language and Langue des signes québécoise. Pick up a mobile device with accessibility features at Ticketing and Information, or ask the staff for information.
- Make sure children know that if they are lost, they should approach a security guard or staff member.
- Encourage children to ask questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question raised by your child companion, ask a staff person, or encourage the child to ask.
- Visitors who ride in the glass elevators or climb the winding staircase to the Tower of Hope should be comfortable with heights.
- Meals and snacks are available for purchase at the ERA Bistro. Food and drinks are not permitted in the galleries. Water fountains are located outside most washrooms. If you bring your own food and drinks, seating is available in Bonne & John Buhler Hall.
- For the health and safety of all our visitors, we encourage you to help us provide a nut-free and scent-free environment.