Monday, February 4, 2019

Human Rights And Civil Rights

Picking up where I left off yesterday, this is a model of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights. This is one of two national museums that are outside the National Capital Region. This one is in Winnipeg, while the other, the Canadian Museum of Immigration, is at Pier 21 in Halifax.

A panel around the corner goes into detail about Viola Desmond and the choice in 2016 to have her on the new currency. This includes a photograph of her surviving sister Wanda Robson with the former lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, the federal Finance Minister, and the Governor of the Bank of Canada at the unveiling of the new bill. The bill itself is shown at top left, both sides.

Her story shows itself in panels and artifacts. Viola Desmond owned a beauty and barber shop with her husband Jack in Halifax. The items here included one of her notebooks and a business card.

Other items are related to a fateful night in 1946. Nova Scotia didn't have segregation laws, but allowed theatres to enforce racial segregation if they wanted. Such was the case with the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, which required black audience members to sit in the balcony section of the theatre. Viola Desmond was in town on a business trip when her car broke down. Waiting for it to be repaired, she decided to see a movie. She went into the Roseland- two of the former cinema seats are displayed here.

She took a seat on the main floor, but it escalated from there, with theatre staff trying to enforce their segregation policy. She would be arrested and fined, a case that she would appeal but lose, and yet in the long run would set forth the road for civil rights in Canada- this was a decade before Rosa Parks in the States defying an officially entrenched segregation. Several years ago, the Nova Scotia government issued a formal pardon wiping the record clean for Viola Desmond.

The permanent portion of the Bank Of Canada Museum starts with a bracelet- something given to you as you come in- and creating an avatar for yourself. You make use of the bracelet throughout the interior, interacting with screens to bring up details on items within. I chose an odd name for my avatar.

You enter where you exit, and this lit up area caught my eye.

This panel, giving a few facts and figures about the economy, is one of the first things you see inside. We'll pick up here tomorrow.


  1. sounds like lots of us have a problem with, Human Rights And Civil Rights!

  2. I like the bracelet system to interact with screens.
    First time I hear about a Human Rights Museum, glad they exist, unfortunately many people in the world still don't have that many rights.

  3. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
    Nelson Mandela
    I did not know that a Human Rights Museum exists! Very nice!

  4. Avitars to interact with exhibits is an interesting concept.

  5. Hello, I like the model of the museum. Very nice exhibit. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and have a great new week ahead.

  6. It still staggers me how we treated Viola Desmond.

  7. @Tom: unfortunately true.

    @Sami: it's particularly useful inside, as that's the primary way to get information on specific items via screens.

    @Ella: it's a recent addition to Canadian museums. I'd like to see it someday.

    @Joan: yes, mine doesn't look a thing like me.

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Eileen: thanks!

    @David: it was a shame.

  8. Such an interesting juxtaposition of events that made Viola Desmond famous for standing up for her rights. Change comes slowly, but there are moments that exacerbate it, like the breakdown of her car and simply trying to see a movie! :-)

  9. Thanks for sharing, Mugsy! Awful things used to be done due to the racism that we learned from our cultures (passing on hate through institutions and parents). But racism still is alive and unfortunately going strong though we've come a long way from having separate facilities in public buildings. Glad to know of the Canadian museums of Human Rights.

  10. That is a wonderful display they did about Viola Desmond.

  11. Some of the discrimination that occurred in this country is quite unbelievable. We still have some discrimination.

  12. Fascinating history and so appropriate ~ wonderful post and photos ~ ^_^

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  13. It's good that they acknowledge how badly they treated people of colour in those days William, unfortunately in many places that hasn't really changed. I really can't understand people who judge on the colour of a person's skin, it makes no sense at all.

  14. They did a wonderful job of telling Viola Desmond's story.

  15. @DJan: I agree.

    @Barbara: true!

    @RedPat: definitely.

    @Red: we do.

    @Carol: thanks!

    @Grace: I know the feeling.

    @Sharon: they really did.

  16. I didn't know the story of Viola Desmond so thank you for sharing it with us:)

  17. Viola, what a story and she was brave enough to stand up to injustice. I wonder what she would think about her image being on a piece of currency. I hope she would be proud.

  18. Viola!
    Thank you. It is good to bring out history lest folks forget.

  19. Nice to use the bracelets and interact. Important information here, that needs to be learned!

  20. @Rosie: you're welcome.

    @Bill: I think so.

    @Marie: so do I.

    @Maywyn: it is indeed.

    @Michelle: it's quite a museum.

  21. That story of Viola Desmond is so sad but I'm glad the government eventually set the record straight.

  22. It's important to not forget stories like Viola's. At least in the U.S. it feels as if we're being led backwards.

  23. Viola sure was brave. So sad people still judge others by their color and even sadder when people even give proof mistrust was a good choice. Does not happen often, but still does (in Germany).

  24. Yay, you're featuring civil and human rights, too!


  25. She sounds like an amazing woman and one well deserving of being on the currency.

  26. Impressive story about Viola Desmond.
    Although we have our own problems with discrimination, the Netherlands internationally had a high standard about human rights, I think we can learn from Canada in recent years.

  27. I'm fascinated by Viola Desmond. She is your country's Rosa Parks. I got to see the actual bus that Rosa Parks sat on in her protest -- you can board the bus and sit in the same seat. Very moving. Enjoyed your post!