Canadian Museum to Feature Inclusive Design

Canadian Museum for Human Rights model

Corey Timpson, director of design, new media and collections at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, shows examples of the museum’s inclusive design approach. Photo courtesy of Canadian Museum for Human Rights

When it comes to universal accessibility, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) wants only one thing: to be the best.

That’s why the builders of this new museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, have ensured that every visitor’s experience will include design suited for sensory, physical and cognitive disabilities as well as cultural diversity. The building will meet or exceed Smithsonian guidelines for accessible design, and a national testing group has been established.

"In our museum, disability will not be treated as a special condition, but as an ordinary part of life that affects us all," Stuart Murray, CMHR president and CEO.

Some of the components of the museum’s design strategy include

  • A tactile keyboard at touchscreen installations for navigating digital exhibit information and accessing inclusive functions without having to ask for assistance
  • Software interfaces with color contrast, reach, visual and functional hierarchy to make using and understanding digital navigation easier
  • Tactile wall and floor elements to indicate the location and orientation of various exhibits and assist in wayfinding
  • Film and video that includes open captioning, audio track, American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes quebecoise (LSQ)
  • Positioning of text panels and other visual elements that consider distance and angles for people with low vision lines, such as those using wheelchairs
  • Accessible ramp elevation and doorway clearances
  • Laurie Beachell, national coordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, applauded the museum's commitment to address accessibility issues now as well as on an ongoing basis.

    "The exciting thing for people with disabilities is not only that a space is being created for a new understanding of human rights, but that it will also be fully accessible," Beachell said. "As our understanding of human rights evolves, so will our understanding of access and inclusive design. The disability community is pleased to be part of something that can raise awareness about what inclusion really means."

    Find out more here.