The Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Winnipeg, Canada

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration, and future of human rights. Its aim is to not only build a national hub for human rights learning and discovery but also launch a new era of global human rights leadership.

Housed in a spectacular 240,000 square foot building by award-winning architect Antoine Predock, the Museum’s signature architecture creates a path for the visitor from darkness to light and symbolizes hope for a changed world. The journey starts in the Museum’s “roots,” rising up from the ground of The Forks, a national historic site that has served as a meeting place for thousands of years, where people have come to trade and resolve disputes peacefully. Visitors ascend through the galleries via a series of ramps, encountering human rights stories and the people who lived them along the way. The path leads visitors into the Tower of Hope, a 23-storey illuminated beacon, symbolizing the brightness of enlightenment; the goal of our shared human rights journey.

RAA designed the 47,000 sq. ft. permanent exhibition, spread over eleven galleries. Visitors are introduced to core concepts of human rights across cultures and time. Indigenous principles of rights and responsibilities are explored. A look at Canada’s human rights journey highlights struggles and achievements in developing its human rights culture and legal systems. Other galleries focus on the Holocaust and genocide, the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the work of the United Nations. Contemporary topics are featured in a gallery that includes the stories about the work of today’s human rights defenders.

In designing the project, RAA aimed to transform what for the average museum visitor is a mostly abstract concept into a tangible understanding of what human rights are, and can be — for others and for oneself. Through physical, interactive exhibits and media, visitor are able to explore historical and contemporary concepts, developments and issues in human rights in Canada and around the globe. Celebrating the persistence of the human spirit, the exhibits illuminate the past to influence the future.

Year:
2014
Architect:

Antoine Predock Architect
Architecture 49 (formerly Smith Carter Architects)

Size:

47,000 sq/ft

Languages:

English, French

Awards:
  • The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, GOOD Design Awards: Humanitarian Award  

  • Industrial Designers Society of America, International Design Excellence Award, Finalist: Environments  

  • Experience Design Awards, Best Museum Environment: Experience Design Award Winner  

  • Creativity International Print & Packaging Design Awards, Gold  

  • Graphis, Design Annual 2015 Award: Print; Exhibit, Gold  

© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.