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A few more minutes on the museum

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A couple of additional notes about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights article that appeared in the paper on Saturday.


*The museum’s board has looked at the idea of scaling back the design plans for the building but decided that wouldn’t actually end up saving any money because it would cost money to do another design, and the delay in construction would add money to the price due to inflation.


*There are currently 11 full-time staff members working at the museum’s temporary offices including Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Reilly and Chief Financial Officer Susanne Robertson. A search began this winter to hire a Chief Executive Officer, but O’Reilly is filling that function for the most part right now. Also already hired are a director of communications, a communications officer and a director of marketing.


*The staff are working in office space in the Victory Building on Main Street. It’s owned by the feds and they are paying $250,000 a year to lease it until the museum opens in 2012, totaling about $1 million in rent for four years (2008-09 to 2011-12). They spent $800,000 to set up that office space.


*By the end of this year there will be about 40 people working there full time. Another 30 to 35 people will be hired in each of 2010-11 and 2011-12 and when the museum opens another 40 staff will be hired including security guards, people to work in the gift shop, etc. Which means about 150 people will be employed by the museum when it opens in about three years.


*The board intends this to be an "idea museum that is focused less on the collection of artifacts and more on the interpretation of ideas around sensitive and complex subjects." The board also says it will not shy away from controversy. Probably a good thing since there is no way to explore issues of human rights without causing controversy.


*It will be entirely bilingual.


*This spring the museum is launching a consultation with Canadians to gather stories as part of the development of the museum’s exhibits.


*Smith Carter and PCL have been hired for construction and construction management. Antoine Predock Architects is the main architect.


*Ralph Appelbaum and Associates has been hired as the exhibit designer.


*The building with be LEED silver, which is one of the reasons the construction costs are likely to go over the $165 million.

The full corporate plan can be found online here.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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