WHEN Hillary Clinton mentioned her desire to see the Canadian Museum for Human Rights during her speech Wednesday afternoon, the wheels started spinning furiously to make it happen.

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WHEN Hillary Clinton mentioned her desire to see the Canadian Museum for Human Rights during her speech Wednesday afternoon, the wheels started spinning furiously to make it happen.

The apparently off-the-cuff remark could have been a result of a conversation the former U.S. first lady had with Gail Asper, the driving force behind the museum, during a VIP meet-and-greet prior to the luncheon at the RBC Convention Centre.

Hillary Clinton fills out an Imagine card during her visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

AARON COHEN PHOTO

Hillary Clinton fills out an Imagine card during her visit to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Upon wrapping up the sold-out event, Clinton was whisked out the door and taken directly to the CMHR before boarding a flight to Saskatoon.

St. Boniface MP Shelley Glover said the visit came together in a matter of minutes.

"As soon as she (mentioned the museum during her speech) we made some phone calls to see if it would be possible, and it worked," Glover said.

Clinton paid special attention to the displays featuring the red dress Mareshia Rucker wore to her high school's first integrated prom in 2013, and Viola Desmond, the black Nova Scotia woman who dared to sit in the whites-only seating area of an integrated movie theatre in 1946, as well as several global atrocities, such as the Holocaust and Holodomor.

"I think she was blown away by what she saw," Glover said. "I think she had an idea of what this might look like but I think she was doubly impressed."

Glover said Clinton also remarked how openly Canada speaks about the mistakes it has made with human rights to make sure they aren't made again.

CMHR spokeswoman Angela Cassie said Clinton was given a tour at a "leisurely" pace.

"We weren't clearing spaces or anything along those lines. She wanted to visit and walk through. She had a lot of fantastic questions. It was a great tour," she said.

It was even better for a family from South Dakota, who was visiting the museum at the same time.

"They came up and asked for a photo. They had a nine-month-old baby, who smiled and gurgled at her," Cassie said. "She was very hospitable. She said hello to some of our volunteers and staff and she met a few people in the galleries and took some pictures, too."

Like other visitors to the museum, Clinton took the opportunity to fill out an Imagine card in the Inspiring Change gallery on the CMHR's seventh level. In blue marker, she wrote: "I imagine a future where human rights will be secure for everyone because all people stood up and spoke out for the freedom and dignity of each of us. We all must work toward that time together. HR Clinton. USA."

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca