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CMHR announces themes of 11 galleries

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Among the features of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be a unique, circular movie theatre offering a 360-degree viewing experience.

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Among the features of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be a unique, circular movie theatre offering a 360-degree viewing experience. Photo Store

After years of focusing on fundraising and construction, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has turned its focus to its raison d'être -- the content.

After consulting with focus groups, the museum has named its 11 galleries and begun their construction.

Angela Cassie, the museum's director of communications and external relations, said the galleries need to be completed a number of weeks before visitors come through the doors for the first time on Sept. 20, so staff and volunteers can be trained properly.

"The objectives when naming a gallery, knowing it's going to go on signage and in visitor guides, is you want people to have a sense of what they're going to see and pique their curiosity. You're trying to do that in five words or less and in both official languages," she said.

The gallery names are:

-- What are Human Rights?

-- Indigenous Perspectives

-- Canadian Journeys

-- Protecting Rights in Canada

-- Examining the Holocaust

-- Turning Points for Humanity

-- Breaking the Silence

-- Actions Count

-- Rights Today

-- Inspiring Change

The first gallery at the $351-million project will set the tone for the visitor experience, Cassie said.

"We want people to recognize this is a place where we're sharing complex issues and sharing multiple perspectives. We thought we'd start off with a question and lay a foundation for people's thinking of human rights concepts," Cassie said.

An 11th gallery, called Expressions, will be changeable and set up with temporary exhibits.

Cassie said these are the gallery names for the foreseeable future as even when the content is enriched for each one, the names will still be relevant.

The structural steel is being put in place now and museum staff are now finalizing text, images and multimedia that will be used in each gallery, Cassie said.

One of the highlights will be a basket-shaped theatre where visitors can take part in a 360-degree movie experience.

"This won't be your traditional movie theatre," Cassie said.

The private-sector fundraising campaign continues as the museum's construction nears completion. Diane Boyle, CEO of the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, said it recently hit $142 million of its $150-million goal.

"Our volunteers and staff across Canada are meeting with prospective donors. The campaign continues; it always has. Ideally, it would be nice to reach (the target) by opening.

We're doing our strategy right now (for) how and when we're going to achieve the additional $8 million," she said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 25, 2014 A2

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