Thursday 22 August 2019

A Visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Today I finally visited the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

We strive to build understanding, promote respect and encourage reflection... the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights.

From the outside, the museum looks amazing. In the picture below you can see the tower looks unfinished. This is done for a reason, to show the fight for human rights around the world is never finished.

A statue of Ghandi  stands appropriately in the park outside the entrance.

The walk to the entrance is a little discomforting for some reason.

A sign on the second floor says it all.

The building, including the tower, is 100 meters or the equivalent to a 23 story building. My photos do not reflect the power, feel and mood of the exhibits. There are thousands of things to read, watch or see. I'm showing very little of what is there.

Level 2 speaks about what human rights are. It's an honest look at our own nation, Canada, and our history of disregarding the human rights of others and our triumphs. We have greatly improved and become a great nation in regards to human rights in our own country and around the world. Sadly, though, not with our own indigenous people. There, we have a horrible history. Yes, we are doing better, but not fast enough. Quebec's new religious dress code laws are a shame too.

A wampum belt (factual reproduction) representing a treaty between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinaabe made in the 1700s.

The eagle feathers held by Elijah Harper in 1990 when he bravely and single-handedly blocked the Canadian constitutional amendment known as the Meech Lake Accord, citing the lack of adequate participation and recognition of Aboriginal people in that process.

This is a 360 panorama sharing stories of aboriginal rights and responsibilities told through the ages.

Modern aboriginal designs.

After leaving the indigenous displays, the next room focuses on Canada and civil rights through the years, good and bad. Each cubicle tells a different story.

Viola Desmond, who now is commemorated on our $10 bill has her story told here in a film and photo display. In 1946 she refused to sit in the balcony for black persons, sitting instead in the "Whites Only" section. She was physically removed, arrested and charged. her fight against racism, 9 years before Rosa Parks in the U.S. 

Id's of 3 Japanese people interred on the west coast during world war 2.

There are a large number of exhibits in this room.

There are many levels all which connect by ramps. There is also an elevator for the disabled.

A display showing Canada's diversity.

I took a rest here in this garden.

This floor was moving. One might question how a people could let this happen but it's happening today.

I took only a few of the many exhibits on this floor. Below is a cigarette card book from 1933 where kids could collect photo cards from their parents cigarette packages supporting Hitler and Nazism.

Transport papers to ship Jewish people to Auschwitz.

An aerial map of Auschwitz. Also included in the display is the blueprints for the buildings and gas chambers. This whole floor made me shudder.

The spiral staircase leading to the lookout on top. I took the elevator. It was a great view. I'm terrified of heights and found being up here unnerving, although i did take some quick pictures before heading back down.

The top level before the lookout is called Inspiring Change. People leave their thoughts on cards for others. I had too many to do up one myself. This one, for me, said it all.

On the main floor features visiting exhibits. This year, it's on Nelson Mandela, and his fight against apartheid. My pictures weren't very good and would disrespect the exhibit. I was moved by the recreation of his cell. My tribute from this exhibition would be the posting of his own words.

I was so moved by the museum, yet there was so much I didn't get a chance to see. Not is it worth a visit, it's worth a second one. It was quite the experience.

I look forward to the day when this museum will be a look back at where humanity went wrong, as the the wrongs in the world, will have been righted.

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