Uncovering History at Winnipeg’s Insightful Canadian Museum for Human Rights

human rights museum

Inspiring, emotional, and educational. Those are three words that come to mind to describe the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.

Few museums can claim to combine all three of those traits, but this stunning modern facility (which opened in 2014) pulls it off with exhibits that document the progress of various oppressed groups of people throughout human history.

From Jesus and Constantine to Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, this eight-level museum has it all covered. You will be moved, and you will definitely learn things you never knew about 20th-century history.

winnipeg human rights museum

This is truly a world-class facility, and it found it to be incredibly enlightening. Read on to learn what I saw at this museum.

Exhibits inside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg

The Breaking the Silence exhibit features a large room with interactive study tables that teach visitors about the various genocides throughout history.

How many instances of genocide could there possibly be?, you may wonder. The answer, sadly, is way more than you could ever imagine.

guatemala maya genocide

I know a lot about history, but some of these I wasn’t familiar with at all. Such as the Ukrainian Holodomor in the ‘30s, a famine evidently engineered by the Stalin regime that led to the pointless starvation deaths of several million Ukrainians.

Other mass human rights violations covered include the Armenian Holocaust during World War I, the Cambodian genocide in the ‘70s, the genocide of the Maya in Guatamela in the early ‘80s, the Rwandan mass slaughter in 1994, and the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 during the Bosnian War, when 8300 Muslin Bosniaks were killed.

A large room dedicated to Nazi Germany presents artifacts from that time period.

This is the passport of a Jewish person in Germany in 1939. All German Jews had their passports stamped with a big red J.

jewish passport germany 1939

Portions of the museum are dedicated to the native peoples of Canada and North America. Americans are well aware how poorly our government treated Native Americans, but the Canadian government wasn’t much better.

The Indigenous Perspectives exhibit on Level 2 is a great place to hear the story of several generations of First Nations peoples. The room has a 360-degree video screen with personal testimonials and video footage.

Although these exhibits might make the Canadian Museum for Human Rights sound like a depressing place, it’s far from it.

The genocide exhibits are some of the most powerful because of their historic importance. But there’s plenty of hopeful energy in the building as well.

equality exhibit winnipeg museum

Various races, ethnic groups, genders, and sexual orientations each have their own sections detailing their struggles for equality and profiling some of the folks who are leading figures in their fights for justice.

The Rights Today gallery on Level 5 is a great place to find optimism and confidence in the future as our society continues to evolve.

Photos from the Museum

Don’t forget to head to the highest level to take the glass elevator to the top of the Tower of Hope. It’s the equivalent of 23 stories tall and it offers views of the Winnipeg skyline and the surrounding area.

winnipeg skyline view

Here’s an awesome photo on display in the museum. On Earth Day in 2005, one thousand Inuit formed a circle to call attention to how climate change has affected them. That’s such a powerful scene:

inuit arctic warning

The museum’s staircase itself is an Instagrammable sight.

staircase museum human rights

More sights from the museum:

equality exhibit
jesus constantine exhibit
canadian human rights
museum interior exhibits
farming exhibit

FAQs About Visiting the Canadian Human Rights Museum

Why is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights important?

History is full of instances where military or political leaders violated the human rights of various groups of people. This museum shines a light on those injustices, so we can learn from them and not repeat those same mistakes.

How long does it take to tour the museum?

As noted, it’s possible to easily spend 3+ hours here. Most visitors will probably be able to devote between 60 and 90 minutes to looking through the exhibits and exploring the building.

nelson mandela dalai lama

How much does it cost to visit and what are the hours?

As of this writing, a general admission ticket is only $18 CAD for adults and $8 for kids. That’s incredibly affordable, which makes sense, since this is the kind of facility that should be accessible for everyone.

The museum is open 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday. It’s closed on Mondays.

Where is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights located?

The museum is located on Israel Asper Way in Winnipeg. It’s a short walk from The Forks market and the rest of downtown Winnipeg.

Numerous bus routes stop at the museum. There’s also paid parking available at metered lots near the museum.

corridor winnipeg museum

Like the Newseum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights is one of those rare attractions where you could almost spend an entire day soaking in all the exhibits and information.

I can’t speak highly enough about this place. It already cracks my Top 5 of the best museums I’ve ever visited.

If You’re Going: Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Address: 85 Israel Asper Way, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0L5 (Google Map)
Cost: $18 adults, $8 kids
When to Visit: Open 10-5 Tuesday through Sunday (Extended hours until 9 pm on Fridays; closed Mondays)
Website: https://humanrights.ca/
Budget Lodging Nearby: Winnipeg Downtown Hostel
Upscale Lodging Nearby: Inn at the Forks
Further Reading: Speaking Out on Human Rights: Debating Canada’s Human Rights System (Amazon)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *