The Idea of a Human Rights Museum

Karen Busby (Editor), Adam Muller (Editor), Andrew Woolford (Editor)

The Idea of a Human Rights Museum is the first book to examine the formation of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and to situate the museum within the context of the international proliferation of such institutions. Sixteen essays consider the wider political, cultural and architectural contexts within which the museum physically and conceptually evolved drawing comparisons between the CMHR and institutions elsewhere in the world that emphasize human rights and social justice.

This collection brings together authors from diverse fields—law, cultural studies, museum studies, sociology, history, political science, and literature—to critically assess the potentials and pitfalls of human rights education through “ideas” museums. Accessible, engaging, and informative, the collection’s essays will encourage museum-goers to think more deeply about the content of human rights exhibits.

The Idea of a Human Rights Museum is the first title in the University of Manitoba Press’s Human Rights and Social Justice Series. This series publishes work that explores the quest for social justice and the basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled, including civil, political, economic, social, collective, and cultural rights.


  • NOMINEE, Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award: Design Category, Manitoba Book Awards (2016)


“An exceptional anthology of informative, thoughtful, and insightful commentaries.”

Midwest Book Review

“Astutely mines CMHR’s contradictions, challenges and possibilities. The book’s essays recount the complicated story of the museum’s development and offer a robust bibliography of resources. This publication is important because it not only documents CMHR’s genesis, but it also serves as a model for the kind of inter-disciplinary dialogue and analysis that all major museum projects—no matter what their focus is—can and should inspire.”

– Marjorie Schwarzer, University of San Francisco, Museum Management and Curatorship

“This is a classically designed book with an excellent typographic treatment. The cover and section title pages play in an interesting ways with the relationship between sketches and ideas.”

– Jennifer de Freitas, Megan Fildes, and Andrew Forster, judges, Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Awards, Design Category.

About the Authors

Karen Busby is a professor of law and director of the Centre for Human Rights Research at the University of Manitoba.

Adam Muller is an associate professor in the Department of English, Film, and Theatre at the University of Manitoba.

Andrew Woolford is a professor of sociology at the University of Manitoba and the author of This Benevolent Experiment: Indigenous Boarding Schools, Genocide, and Redress in the United States and Canada.

Other contributors: Karen Busby, Jennifer Carter, Clint Curle, Angela Failler, Helen Fallding, Jodi Giesbrecht, Amanda Grzyb, George Jacob, Stephen Jaeger, Dirk Moses, Adam Muller, Jorge Nallim, Ken Norman, Armando Perla, David Petrasek, Ruth Phillips, Christopher Powell, Mary Reid, Roger Simon, Struan Sinclair, Andrew Woolford

Book Details

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