Just in time for International Human Rights Day, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has been internationally honoured with the Gold Award from the International Association of Universal Design at a ceremony in Nagoya, Japan.
The award, which was presented Friday, is given on an annual basis for "outstanding contributions toward building an inclusive world where everyone can live together comfortably and without barriers to participation in daily life, regardless of ability, age, gender, ethnicity or other factors," a news release stated.
The museum was recognized for its efforts at being accessible to people of all abilities — in wayfinding and physical accessibility, exhibition design, visitor services, public programming and interactions with both digital and non-digital content.
"We committed to a design-for-all approach at the earliest stages in our development, and our standards continue to evolve as we work with the disability community and our visitors, learning what works and what doesn’t," museum president John Young said in a statement.
"Being internationally recognized helps build awareness and sensitivity across our entire industry, which can help improve accessibility standards everywhere."
Corey Timpson, the museum’s vice-president of exhibitions, research and design, is delivering a presentation on the museum’s inclusive approach to 5,000 delegates from more than 30 countries who are attending the conference in Japan.
The association, which is based in Japan, promotes the creation, through products and services, of a society where more people feel comfortable to live.
Today, which is International Human Rights Day, the museum will not charge admission. The theme is showcasing the capabilities of people who have various disabilities.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind will show visitors how technology helps people with vision challenges overcome obstacles to employment and independent living. Assistive technologies will be demonstrated all day in the Level 2 Canadian Journeys gallery, along with an opportunity to learn the Braille alphabet.
Also, CNIB independent living skills specialist Tracy Garbutt and his guide dog Kurt will give a presentation on their relationship and answer questions at 2 p.m. on the Level 6 terrace.
The Open Access Resource Centre will lead a family activity with devices that enable people who are non-verbal to communicate. Visitors will be shown how to use the technology to "purchase" items from a mock storefront set up on the Level 5 terrace from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The renowned 100 Decibels troupe will present a deaf mime performance at noon near the main entrance on Level 1.
The Society of Manitobans with Disabilities’ All Abilities Dance Troupe, consisting of performers with different abilities including those with mobility challenges, will present a dance performance at 1 p.m., followed by a discussion with the audience.
Seven American Sign Language interpreters — and two intervenors who help people with hearing and/or vision impairments to communicate through touch signals — will be positioned throughout the museum during the day to assist visitors and answer questions about their work.
A quiet space will be designated on Level 4 to serve the needs of visitors with autism spectrum disorder and others who may need a non-stimulating environment.