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Canadian Museum for Human Rights officially open

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/9/2014 (919 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is now a reality.

The museum at The Forks was the vision of the late philanthropist and media mogul, Israel Asper. His daughter, Gail Asper, was a driving force behind the project.

The opening ceremonies begin at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The opening ceremonies begin at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Purchase Photo Print

At the opening ceremonies this morning, she received a standing ovation after paying an emotional tribute to her late father and all those who made his vision of building a "beacon of hope" on a gravel parking lot by The Forks 14 years ago a reality today.

"It pains me my father and mother are not here to join us."

Asper ran one of the biggest fundraising campaigns in Canadian history to get the museum built.

"I was privileged with the adventure of a lifetime," she told the crowd.

"This is for all of you."

Politicians of every stripe were seen at the opening, including Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Andrew Swan, Minister of Jobs and the Economy, Theresa Oswald, Manitoba PC leader, Brian Pallister, NDP MLA Rob Altemeyer, Tory MP Steven Fletcher, former Manitoba Liberal leader Jon Gerrard and Coun. John Orlikow.

Some groups protesting various elements of the museum have taken up places around the museum to air their views, too.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not one of the attendees and rumours of a former U.S. president - Clinton or Carter? - taking in the festivities appear to be untrue as evidenced by the lack of Secret Service officers on site. Winnipeg police officers, however, are stationed on every corner around the museum.

Canada's Aboriginal people helped open the museum this morning.

First Nations elders Clarence and Barbara Nepinak gave the museum their blessing in their mother tongue. A First Nation drummer and singer in traditional dress followed, as guests and dignitaries clutching unopened umbrellas at the ceremony sat in the bleachers under threatening skies.

Metis elder George Ducharme said a prayer asking for help so "we can walk in peace."

Inuit elder Levinia Brown said a prayer in her language and blessed the building as those I'm attendance bowed their heads.

Governor General David Johnston said the museum is place that will inspire the promotion of human rights.

"It will help us in our continuous struggle for human rights and what still must be done." It's a place all schoolchildren should visit, said the grandfather of 11 who said children will be "enticed" by its digitized exhibits.

Canada's heritage minister, Winnipeg MP Shelly Glover, was next to the podium.

"We are bringing a dream to life," said Glover, as the rain fell. Glover joked it was God's way "of baptizing us".

She saluted the late Izzy Asper, who championed the idea for the museum, and his children who saw it to fruition.

The museum will demonstrate "our values with both pride and conviction," said Glover. Canada has had its "dark" moments but learned from its human rights mistakes, she said.

"We live in the greatest country on the world."

Meanwhile, armed with a megaphone, Idle No More aboriginal protesters demonstrated next to the bleachers during the opening ceremonies.

Read more by Carol Sanders and Geoff Kirbyson.

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At the Canadian Museum for Human Rights official opening ceremonies Friday. (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
CMHR opening: Sept. 19, 2014
Police officers at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights for the official opening ceremonies Friday.   (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
People arriving for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights for the official opening ceremonies Friday.   (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
David Asper and Jim Bear prior to the official opening ceremonies Friday.   (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
A group demonstrates before the start of the opening ceremony for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
The opening ceremonies at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Governor General David Johnson speaks at the CMHR opening ceremonies. (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Gail Asper speaks at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights official opening ceremonies Friday.   (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Visitors wait in the rain, with supplied umbrellas, for their preview tours at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. The rain kept away some of the people with reserved tickets, allowing walk-ups to gain access to the guided tour of four of 11 galleries. The rest of galleries open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Canadian Museum for Human Rights: Sneak peek at the galleries
Rain kept away some reserved ticket holders for free previews tours at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Frank Yong snaps a photo of his wife Teresa and her friend Jenny Lee, all from British Columbia, while they wait in the rain for their preview tour at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. The rain kept away some of the people with reserved tickets, allowing walk-ups to gain access to the guided tour of four of 11 galleries. The rest of galleries open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
A preview group's first glance of the alabaster ramps between galleries at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Teresa Yong, who travelled from British Columbia, glances up at the dozens of alabaster ramps stacked throughout the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Visitors take photos of the alabaster ramps between galleries at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open September 27th. 140920 - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press) (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Visitors stop to look at the first gallery Human Rights Over Time at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
A couple on the walkway above the main entrance during the public's first look inside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Antoine Predock (right) the architect of the the Canadian Museum for Human Rights laughs with a volunteer on Saturday during free public previews. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Visitors walk past the inverted woven basket in the Indigenous Perspectives gallery at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Visitors try out the lights of inclusion game in the Canadian Journeys gallery at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
A group of visitors in front of a display on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Protecting Rights gallery at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
A preview group walks up the alabaster ramps between galleries at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open Sept. 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
A young visitor enjoys the lights of inclusion game in the Canadian Journeys gallery at that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open September 27th. 140920 - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press) (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Visitors file through the fourth gallery Protecting Rights at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open September 27. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
Visitors finish their preview tour in the Garden of Contemplation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday. Thousands had reserved tickets for the four gallery preview tour on Saturday and Sunday. That is only four of 11 galleries, the rest of which open September 27th. 140920 - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press) (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press)
An image from Peace The Exhibition, from the Canadian War Museum.  (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Installation #2 - Indigenous Perspectives. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Gallery Installation #4 - Protecting Rights in Canada. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
 Installation # 1 - Human Rights Over Time. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Examining the Holocaust installation, with exhibits on death marches, genocide of groups and maps of Auschwitz, among others. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Installation #7 Breaking the Silence includes a study table. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Installation # 8 - Actions Count Gallery, which includes an interactive table.  (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Installation # 9 - RIghts Today. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
 Installation #10 - Inspiring Change. Museum goers will be asked to leave their comments of hope on 'I Imagine' cards and place them along a wall in the final installation.   (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Museum goers begin their journey in a dark entrance way, and slowly work their way up a set up ramps which continually get brighter the higher they climb. A beautiful geometric arrangement of alabaster ramps, almost 1 kilometre in length, twist and turn around the museum through all the installations, heading toward the Tower of Hope. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Canadian Museum for Human Rights: Sneak peek
A 360-degree surround video journey of human rights over time. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
 Installation # 2 - Indigenous Perspectives Gallery, (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Heading to the Hall Of Hope. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)
Installation #2 - Indigenous Perspectives Gallery. Rebecca Belmore's large blanket, created from thousands of hand-printed beads made by herself and hundreds of volunteers, can be seen from many levels of the museum.  (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
A closer look at Rebecca Belmore's  large blanket of thousands of hand-printed beads (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Part of the alabaster ramp.  (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Another view of the alabaster ramps. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Entering Installation # 6 - Turning Points Gallery. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Part of Installation # 9 - RIghts Today. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
More of the geometric arrangement of the alabaster ramps. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
The Garden of Contemplation. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
Another view of the Garden of Contemplation. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
PCL Builders Terrace, a large balcony overlooking the expansive windows and Contemplation Gardens which includes rows of plaques with all the names of the men and women who worked their craft to help build the museum. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
The beautiful grand staircase leading to the brightly lit Tower of Hope. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)
History

Updated on Friday, September 19, 2014 at 10:54 AM CDT: Updates story.

11:36 AM: Adds comments from Governor General

12:10 PM: Adds comments from Shelly Glover.

1:08 PM: Adds comments from Gail Asper.

4:20 PM: Adds video

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