Lessons from Canadian Businesses | Canadian Museum for Human Rights

“In times of crisis we have to come together and think about our shared humanity.”
– Rhea Yates, director Digital Outreach

The Business

As the world’s first museum dedicated to human rights, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is centred around the idea that respect and understanding of human rights can serve as a positive force for change in the world.
CMHR attracts visitors from across the globe. Their mandate is to explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue.

The Challenges

  • When the museum doors closed due to COVID-19, CMHR had to find a new way to bring their immersive experiences to people.
  • The constant changes were difficult. It felt like one pathway would be confirmed and then the direction would change again.

CMHR has several employees working from home and we recognize they are also being pulled in several directions with family-related responsibilities.

The Response

  • CMHR curated three virtual tours to showcase their exhibits and architecture, with more tours on the horizon. These tours offer the same friendliness and warmth that people came to expect at the museum.  Now, this warmth can be shared within people’s homes.
  • CMHR also created “Acts of Kindness during COVID-19” where people can upload a short video to share a message or story. The sharing of stories reminds us of our shared humanity and the importance of coming together in times of crisis.
  • CMHR worked with staff to establish and manage work expectations. Managers were encouraged to be attuned to both work and home responsibilities of employees and to make necessary adaptations.

The Advice – What We Learned

  • Lean on existing projects and infrastructure when possible: CMHR utilized pieces of existing digital content to quickly package their virtual tours. 
  • These times will inevitably create memorable stories – capture them!  Share these stories and memories to keep community alive through ongoing conversation.
  • Be flexible! Try things, stick with it, but look for other opportunities to connect with your audience and clients digitally during this time. Digital marketing is a valuable tool and can be broken into two areas – Content and Format


  • Think about your audience. Who are they? Who is competing for their time and attention? How are they feeling? Produce content that both aligns with these questions and solves a problem.
  • Assess the foundation of the relationships you have with your customers and clients. Create content that captures that essence.


  • If you don’t get a large initial audience, stick with it! People generally need to use a platform six times to reach a knowledge level of 90% on how it works.
  • Track what resonates over time. Collect feedback directly from the audience on what they’re looking for.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

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