Birth of an Idea

The idea of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (the Museum) first came from Dr. Israel Asper, O.C., Q.C., who worked passionately to turn his vision into a reality.

As a proud and grateful Canadian, Dr. Asper envisioned a uniquely Canadian destination for human rights education and action that would also reflect the world’s collective human rights struggles and aspirations.

On July 19, 2000, the idea for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was born.

First Steps

Over the next three years, Dr. Asper launched a feasibility study conducted by leading museum experts across Canada. On April 17, 2003, he publicly announced his intention to create the Museum at the Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Friends) was founded in 2003 to spearhead the Museum’s creation.

Sadly, on October 7, 2003, Dr. Asper passed away. Two weeks later his family launched the architectural competition for the museum.

For the next four years, Gail Asper, O.C., O.M., LL.D., President of The Asper Foundation, and Moe Levy, Executive Director of The Asper Foundation, lobbied for support for the Museum, led the $150 million private sector fundraising campaign, and prepared for the Museum's construction.

Antoine Predock was selected as the architect for the Museum and Ralph Appelbaum, head of the largest museum design company in the world, was hired to develop the Museum's exhibits.

Moving Forward

In 2007, Friends, the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg and the Forks North Portage Partnership signed a Definitive Agreement. The federal government pledged to commit $100 million in capital costs to the Museum’s creation, along with $21.7 million for annual operating costs, while the Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg committed $40 million and $20 million respectively.

A year later, the House of Commons and Senate unanimously approved Bill C-42, which amended the Museums Act to create the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as a national museum. The Museum received Royal Assent on March 13, 2008.

Fulfilling a Dream

Construction of the Museum began in 2009. On September 20, 2014 the Museum opened its doors to the world as a national hub for human rights learning and discovery.