A photo of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights building in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at sunset with a park in the foreground.

EXTENDING A MUSEUM'S REACH WELL BEYOND ITS WALLS.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

WEBSITE DESIGN AND BUILD

EXTENDING A MUSEUM'S REACH WELL BEYOND ITS WALLS.

“Enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, promote respect for others and encourage reflection and dialogue” – now that’s a big, audacious brand purpose and an amazing brief.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the only museum in the world solely dedicated to human rights issues. It is an architectural marvel based in Winnipeg, Canada, but the real marvel is the visitor experience. The museum goes beyond artifacts, it’s a museum built to engage people in other’s stories, encourage reflection on what they’ve witnessed, and to engage in dialogue. Visitors leave changed and feeling empowered to act.

Our challenge was to bring to life this same experience to a global audience online.

However, the realities of the online world are different to those of people making a pilgrimage to the middle of Canada to visit the museum.

Mostafa M. El-Bermawy said it best: “The global village that was once the internet has been replaced by digital islands of isolation that are drifting further apart each day.”

To overcome this we developed the website vision and mission which guided everything we did and that resulted in a site helping to change the world for the better. It is a living, breathing, ongoing dialogue on human rights.

A photo of the interior of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, with white walls and skylights. A black poster with white text reads "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Tous les êtres humains naissent libres et égaux en dignité et en droits".
A computer monitor and a mobile phone, with screenshots of the CMHR website. The screenshot reads "Welcome to the only Museum entirely devoted to human rights for all."

Vision

Shine a light along the path from dialogue to reconciliation.

A screenshot of the CMHR website, showing a page titled "About Us", comprising information cards, image cards, links and a quotation.
  • A screenshot of the CMHR website, showing a Story page titled "The Nuts and Bolts of Reconciliation", with a hero banner image of a First Nations carved wooden mask with red painted designs.
  • A screenshot of the CMHR website, showing a page titled "Book Your School", with subtitle "Leave with a class full of perspectives". The hero banner image shows students listening to a presenter.
  • A screenshot of the CMHR website, showing a Story page titled "Bringing the Ancestors Home", with a black and white hero banner image of First Nations elder Agnes Alfred.
A screenshot of the CMHR website, showing a Story page titled "One Woman's Resistance", with a colourized hero banner image of Viola Desmond, and content sections including text, quotations, an image carousel, video and floated images.
A screenshot of the CMHR website, showing a Story page titled "The Story of Armin T. Wegner", with a black and white hero banner image of Armin T. Wegner, and content sections including text, quotations, an image carousel, video and floated images.

Accessibility

To ensure that everyone can participate in human rights dialogue, we made website accessibility a top priority – no matter who, where or how people are exploring it.

A photo of a pair of hands reading a braille map of the CMHR floor layout.

Mission

Exemplify and support principles of dialogue through all elements of structure, storytelling, and engagement.

A screenshot of the CMHR website, showing the homepage with a black and white hero banner image of Nelson Mandela, with a quotation of him reading "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.".
A mobile phone screenshot of the CMHR website showing three cards to prompt user dialogue, reading: "Ask Yourself: How should I respond to injustice? How can we heal after human rights have been denied? How does the past affect my present?".
A mobile phone screenshot of the CMHR website showing a section titles "Continue the Conversation", with a Twitter post by Mohamad Safa relating to the hashtag #NelsonMandela.

Result

We created a site experience that lived up to the museum itself supporting their vision for the future of human rights in Canada and beyond.

A photo of a number of differently-angled alabaster walkways inside CMHR, from above.

End of the line

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