Award-winning architect designed human rights museum

Reach for the Stars is more than just a theme for Friends of the Canadian 

Museum for Human Rights, it is a mantra by which Winnipeg can return to the confidence, the pride and the possibility we stood for at the turn of the century.

When Israel Asper announced the proposal for the museum, he said: “We Canadians have a tendency to aim for the middle, for mediocrity. With this museum, we are reaching for the stars.”  

Several years later, the Conference Board of Canada underscored his thinking when it published a report that said  Canada is “sinking in a pool of mediocrity that threatens to pull down our standard of living.”  

Among the biggest problems cited in the report was “Canadians’ attitude toward success and entrepreneurship.”  Generally, the report said, Canadians are “complacent and unwilling to take risks.”  

With the Canadian Museum for 

Human Rights, Winnipeg can proudly say that it is blowing mediocrity out of the water.   

Architect Antoine Predock, winner of the international architectural competition for the museum, holds two of the most prestigious architectural awards in the world —  the coveted American Institute of Architects Gold Medal (2006) and the 2008 Cooper Hewitt Lifetime Achievement Award. His signature design for the museum, which he refers to as an inspiring journey of hope — from darkness to light — has been featured in architectural magazines from around the world, including Specifier (Australia), Aruitectura Construcao (Portugal), Identity (United Arab Emirates), Ofx (Italy), L’Actualité (Canada), Attitude (Portugal), Hinge (Hong Kong), Riba (United Kingdom).

However, developing a Reach for the Stars vision for the museum went beyond architecture through to the programming and visitor experience. To ensure a compelling national student program was feasible and would be welcomed by educators across the nation, Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights contracted  Lord Cultural Resources, a Canadian-based internationally-respected museum planning firm, to develop the business and operations plan. Their extensive research in Canada and throughout the world resulted in the operations cost, visitation and student travel projections for the museum.

For an unparalleled visitor journey, Friends of the Canadian Museum for 

Human Rights contracted Ralph Appelbaum Associates — sought after around the world for their innovative and inspirational storytelling ability — to develop a vision for the master exhibit plan. 

Ralph’s firm has won virtually every major award for museum design, including the presidential award for design excellence, the federal design achievement award and awards from more than 90 other organizations around the world.  Among his designs are the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the newly-opened Newseum in Washington.  

All decisions regarding construction and museum design will remain the purview of the museum’s board of trustees.  

To find out why REALTORS® are involved in the museum’s fund-raising campaign, go to and click on the R® logo. Donations can be made through the same website.

(This is the second in a four-part 

series of articles on the museum 

appearing in the WREN submitted by the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.)