Manitoba Museum welcomes Museum Advisor on Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Manitoba Museum welcomes Museum Advisor on Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Treaty No. 1 Territory – Winnipeg, Manitoba: July 8, 2024 – The Manitoba Museum is pleased to welcome Tabitha Harper in the role of Museum Advisor on Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (M.A.I.R.R.).  In this new role, Harper will be instrumental in supporting and strengthening new and existing community relationships, developing a framework to guide the Museum’s implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and will meaningfully contribute to advancing Indigenous reconciliation efforts with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.

Harper was raised on Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation, located on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg, and attended high school in Winnipeg. She graduated with a diploma from Red River College Polytech’s Social Innovation and Community Development Program, with a major in Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship. Harper also draws on an informal education through lived experiences, such as ceremony and being an active helper in her community. Harper notes these experiences have helped her to remain humble and prepared to be ready and willing to support those in need.

Harper has held roles as Child Development Worker and Assistant Case Manager for Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation Jordan’s Principle and was the first Indigenous Cultural Program Instructor for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC). Although her role at APC allowed Harper to reconnect and embrace her culture confidently, it also served as an often-painful reminder of her ancestors who were not able to legally practice their cultures and traditions.

“Through my schooling, I studied the lack of Indigenous representation and perspective within institutions and organizations in Manitoba, specifically about the interconnections between microaggressions, high turnover rate, and hesitancy on both sides for reconciliation. My passion is for overall wellness of Indigenous peoples so that they may thrive, heal, and strive towards self-determination and self-governance. Managing difficult conversations that support vulnerability and respect is an environment needed when discussing reconciliation; I feel my new role at the Manitoba Museum supports Indigenous inclusion, perspective, and reconciliation in a good way.” – Tabitha Harper, Museum Advisor on Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

In 2022, the Manitoba Museum introduced a 5-year Strategic Plan intended to guide the Museum’s way forward to becoming a more impactful and transformative institution. Highlighted in this plan was the necessity to acknowledge the role the Museum played in colonization, and to demonstrate its commitment to advance decolonization, reconciliation, and repatriation in all facets of the Museum’s work.  This new role was in part created to ensure the Museum’s decisions and actions were properly informed, and to maintain respectful and collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities.

“I want to be a bridge not only for Indigenous people, but also non-Indigenous people, to provide support and engagement opportunities for transparent communications. I believe that my work in this position will help Indigenous peoples feel more welcome to attend, connect, and interact in Museum spaces, and I’m looking forward to developing relationships and connecting with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples – because I feel the most rich and fruitful connections happen through meaningful and respectful relationships” – Tabitha Harper.

The Canadian Museums Association’s ‘Moved to Action: Activating UNDRIP in Canadian Museums’ Report is a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #67. The Manitoba Museum uses this vital resource as a guide to determine their compliance with UNDRIP and identify what work is still needed. With Harper’s guidance, the knowledge and support of the Indigenous Advisory Circle to the Manitoba Museum, and the expertise of museum colleagues from coast to coast to coast, the Manitoba Museum will develop an implementation framework to ensure museum policies and practices uphold the Articles of UNDRIP related to museums and heritage institutions.

“While Tabitha brings invaluable knowledge and wisdom to this role, the Museum as a whole carries the responsibility to repair relationships with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities. As the Museum Advisor on Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Tabitha will work together with colleagues across our institution to dismantle existing systems which fail to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples to self-determination, and control and authority over their own heritage, tangible and intangible.” – Dorota Blumczynska, CEO of the Manitoba Museum.

The Manitoba Museum, as a steward of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis artifacts, has a profound responsibility to partner with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in sharing their stories, stories that are at the heart of Manitoba’s history. In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, cultural revitalization, and knowledge and language reclamation, the Manitoba Museum recognizes its larger commitment and responsibility to honour the unique relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Museum. This conscious recognition endeavors to support the practice and revitalization of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultural traditions—past, present, and future.



Media Contact: 

Brandi Hayberg
Manager of Marketing & Communications
Manitoba Museum

Manitoba Museum announces comprehensive renovations to enhance visitor experience, improve accessibility and safety

The Rupert Avenue entrance will be completely revamped with improved accessibility, lighting, and safety in mind.
Header image: ©Stantec/Manitoba Museum  


Winnipeg MB (June 20, 2024): The Manitoba Museum announced an exciting journey of transformation with a groundbreaking ceremony held today at their Rupert Avenue entrance. With a focus on improved accessibility, enhanced visitor experience, and updated safety measures, the ambitious renovations will result in significant upgrades to the Museum’s Rupert Avenue entrance, followed by a comprehensive reimagining of the Museum’s visitor foyer.

The updated exterior will see a newly designed and fully accessible entrance, sheltered by a canopy that will provide prominent signage and improved lighting; dark corners and poorly lit areas will be eliminated, enhancing safety and aesthetics. The Museum’s visitor foyer will become a larger, brighter space, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors and contributing to an enhanced Museum experience.

To complete this work, the Museum’s Rupert Avenue entrance will be closed to the public starting July 22, with a reopening date tentatively set for November; visitors will be directed to enter the Museum via its Main Street entrance. During this time, a temporary accessible ramp will be in place.

“While we recognize that these renovations may create a short-term inconvenience for some of our staff and visitors, we are beyond excited about how much more accessible and inviting our museum will be. Our commitment to the community is that the Manitoba Museum can be a space that everyone can enjoy and feel like they belong.” – Dorota Blumczyńska, CEO, Manitoba Museum.

The construction, executed by architecture and engineering firm Stantec, will be completed in multiple phases with a goal completion date in summer 2025. The Museum will keep the public updated on entrance closures and other disruptions on their website at

The project is funded jointly by the Manitoba Museum and a grant provided by the Manitoba government.



Media Inquiries:

Brandi Hayberg
Manager of Marketing & Communications

Click here for High Resolution Images

Celebrating Resilience through Stories of Newcomer Women in Canada

Photograph of eight women from diverse backgrounds posing together in front of a tan-coloured backdrop.

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Sangeetha Nair
Phone: (204) 588-8310

Winnipeg, MB (June 11, 2024) – Join us for a heartwarming and inspiring event at the Manitoba Museum where women from five countries and across different continents share their stories of courage, resilience, and transformation as they began new lives in Canada.

“Pathways: Stories of How We Got Here” is a storytelling and performance project aimed at empowering newcomer women by improving their communication skills, fostering community, and building capacity as mentors and leaders.

Under the guidance of writing coach Patle Creary and performance coach Rachel Smith, participants spent 12 weeks crafting and refining their stories for a live audience.

“Audiences can expect to feel a sense of upliftment through the power of storytelling and the joy that these women bring despite the challenges they have experienced,” said Creary.

Participant Viktoriia Bulat from Ukraine said this opportunity is a dream come true. “Even as a teenager, I imagined myself as a cool journalist or writer. So when I saw a post on Facebook about the project, I was inspired to apply”.

“This will be the first time in my life that I will be performing in front of a live audience. But the coaching I received makes me feel I am not afraid of anything.”

Jeanette Perez on the other hand is no stranger to live performances. The ukelele player and mother of three hopes to “encourage others to learn a skill and multiply the joy of being able to sing and play simple songs”.

Perez will be performing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” as part of her story.

Showtimes are at 1:00 pm on Saturday June 22 and Sunday June 23 and will also include an opening and closing performance by Rodrigo Muñoz and Amber Epp of Latin jazz band, Papa Mambo.


Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased from the Manitoba Museum website, here.

Text-base logo reading,
Manitoba Museum logo.

Meet the Storytellers:

Sarah Cayas graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and theatre arts. She holds certificates in management and ESL teaching and pursues life coaching. Sarah is a newcomer, indigenous youth employment facilitator, and online mentor. She hopes to inspire immigrants through her experiences and expertise.

Story Title: S.C.A.L.E.

Summary: S.C.A.L.E. stands for Smart, Confident, Adventurous, Learning, and Excited. In this short story, Sarah shares how her digital scale helps her weigh her options as she takes on life’s many journeys with grace and faith.


Mariam Yide immigrated to Canada 13 years ago. Before the COVID pandemic, she worked as a healthcare aide with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Mariam is a mother to two sons and looks forward to starting a new career.

Story Title: My Life Memory Tree

Summary: Mariam’s pathway has always been lined with trees. In this story, she celebrates trees as sources of sustenance and symbols of transition and rebirth.


(Emily) Fangyan Zheng has a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature Education. Fangyan immigrated to Canada from China in May 2011. For seven and a half years, she ran a motel in Hadashville, Manitoba. Now, she is a Chinese teacher and tutor at a non-profit Chinese school in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Fangyan is married and has a son who works in Toronto.

Story Title: Full Circle

Summary: Fangyan Zheng tells the story of her transition from Chinese immigrant to language teacher. Her story invites us to consider immigration and transition as a full circle that respects the past and the present while being hopeful for the future.


Paula Caracini was born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. She immigrated to Canada in 2021 with her husband and two daughters. Paula studied Psychology and built her career in counselling and as a Career Coach. She loves writing, reading, and learning new things.

Story Title: A Passport to Dreams

Summary: Paula’s passport has opened doors to the life she envisioned for herself and her family. In this story, she shares how a simple green booklet embodies her formal and informal identity.


Jeanette Perez immigrated from the Philippines in 2015 with a master’s in management engineering. She currently works in Marketing for a company in Winnipeg. Jeanette holds key positions in non-profit organizations that promote Filipino culture and heritage through music and arts. She is married and has three children and a granddaughter.

Story Title: Saturdays with U (Ukulele)

Summary: Jeanette has a unique ukulele. In this story, she shares how the musical instrument helped her to honour her mother and brother while growing her community and self-confidence with the gift of music and song. As part of her story, Jeanette will also be performing “Somewhere over the Rainbow”.


Genelyn Navarro is an employment outreach facilitator who merges her social work, public administration, and business administration (HR) expertise to empower youth. Passionate about community development, Genelyn channels her knowledge to mentor and support young individuals, fostering their growth and success in the professional world.

Story Title: Pamana (Inheritance)

Summary: Pamana is a Tagalog word which means inheritance. In this story, Genelyn Navarro celebrates the legacy of her parents’ unwavering belief in higher education and the spirit of community and volunteerism that she brings to every space she calls home.


Viktoria Bulat was born in Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and volunteers at the “U Multicultural” channel and the Health Science Centre’s Children’s Hospital. Viktoria came to Winnipeg in November 2022 after spending three and a half years in Milan, Italy. She is married, and her daughter is now one year old.

Story Title: A Lullaby in Four Parts

Summary: Viktoria tells a story about finding her feet after years of disruption and displacement. Her anchor was motherhood, propelling her and her husband to journey to Canada.


Tetiana Lushpaienko is from the Ukrainian city of Odesa. She has a master’s degree in economics and had built a great career in the jewelry industry there. Tetiana came to Canada two years ago with her six-year-old son and only two suitcases. She now lives in Winnipeg with her family, where she continues her passion for working with diamonds and gems.

Story Title: My Onyx Talisman

Summary: Onyx symbolizes strength, confidence, and perseverance. In this story, Tetiana shares how her connection to the jewel helped her remember who she was before the war in Ukraine began and how wearing it helped her return to the lifestyle she worked hard to achieve.


“Pathways: Stories of How We Got Here” is a collaboration of 16 Winnipeg nonprofits working together as a Steering Committee to support these incredible women.

To schedule interviews with any of the participants or coaches, please contact Sangeetha Nair at 204-588-8310 or


Connect with Pathways:


Facebook: @PathwaysWinnipeg

Instagram: @PathwaysWinnipeg

‘Manidoo Miiniigooizowin: A Gift from the Creator’ Special Opening Reception

A promo image for exhibit 'Manidoo Miiniigooizowin: A Gift from the Creator'. On a bright blue background to the left, below a large

Members of the media are invited to the Manitoba Museum where the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) are hosting a special reception to celebrate the opening of Manidoo Miiniigooizowin, A Gift from the Creator.

Manidoo Miiniigooizowin is a new curated exhibition that honours the beauty and resilience of the Anishinaabe and Dakota peoples of southern Manitoba while also commemorating SCO’s 25th anniversary.

The exhibit is the first of several events SCO has planned to recognize and celebrate our 25 years of advocacy and service.

SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels along with exhibition co-curators Amanda McLeod (Sagkeeng Anicinabe First Nation) and Dr. Amelia Fay will be available for interviews.

The following exhibition contributors will be in attendance and are able to speak with media: Nicole Bester (Sagkeeng Anicinabe First Nation); Alexis Houle (Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation); Danielle Roulette (Lake Manitoba First Nation); Jenna Valiquette (Poplar River First Nation); and Kim McPherson and Gerri-Lee Pangman (Peguis First Nation). Click on their names to learn more about their contributions to the exhibition.


Date: Thursday, May 16, 2024
Time: 5 to 7 pm
Where: Manitoba Museum, 190 Rupert Avenue, Winnipeg



The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 87,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.


For media inquiries:


Join the Planetarium for a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at Assiniboine Park!

Three people standing close together, looking up at the sky while wearing solar eclipse glasses.

(Winnipeg, Manitoba: April 3, 2024) – On Monday, April 8, the worlds will align as the Moon will pass in front of the Sun as seen from the Earth, creating a solar eclipse viewable from across North America. Manitobans will see a partial solar eclipse that afternoon. Viewers in a narrow path from Mazatlan, Mexico through Montreal and on through the Maritimes will witness a total solar eclipse, one of nature’s rarest and most amazing spectacles.

To help people view the eclipse, the Manitoba Museum’s Planetarium is joining forces with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Winnipeg Centre and the Assiniboine Park Conservancy to host a free solar eclipse viewing party from 12:30 pm to 3:15 pm at The Leaf in Assiniboine Park. Special solar telescopes will be accessible to provide safe views of the eclipse for attendees, and live feeds from other sites across North America will show the view from the path of totality.

“We are excited to welcome our friends from the Manitoba Museum’s Planetarium and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada to Assiniboine Park for this special event,” said Jody Watson, Senior Director of Programming & Education, Assiniboine Park Conservancy. “It will be a fascinating experience to share with Park visitors and a wonderful opportunity to inspire curiosity and learning about the amazing world we live in.”

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun and casts its shadow onto the Earth. For viewers on the center line of the eclipse, the Moon will completely block out the Sun for up to four minutes, revealing the Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona. Viewers on either side of the center line will see a partial eclipse. From southern Manitoba, the Moon will cover about half of the Sun’s diameter at maximum (less for those farther north or west).

The eclipse will begin at 12:54 pm CDT for Winnipeg when the Moon first begins to cover the Sun (moving in from the bottom right). Over the next two-and-a-half hours the Moon will move across the Sun from right to left, while the Sun moves across the sky from left to right as it does every day. Maximum eclipse occurs at 2:01 pm CDT, and the eclipse ends at 3:08 pm CDT.

“This will be the astronomical event of the year,” says Young. “We’ll see the partial eclipse live from Manitoba and watch totality via live stream from several sites across North America, so we’ll get the best views even if it happens to be cloudy in Winnipeg.”

Eclipse Safety


The Sun is always too bright to look at with unprotected eyes – special solar filters are required. Regular sunglasses or other homebuilt options are not enough – a specialized filter material is required to look directly at the Sun.

“When watching an eclipse, safety is important,” says Young. “You can’t just use sunglasses or order some cheap filters online from an unknown source – there are a lot of unsafe fakes out there. Purchase new eclipse glasses from a reputable source, don’t try to save pennies and put your eyesight at risk for life.”

The Manitoba Museum Shop is now sold out of eclipse glasses. If you were not able to get certified eclipse glasses, there are ways to observe the eclipse safely listed on the Manitoba Museum eclipse page.



Media Inquiries:

Scott Young
Planetarium Astronomer

Brandi Hayberg
Manager of Marketing & Communications

Ask an Astronomer – Solar Eclipse Press Conference at the Manitoba Museum

Formal headshot of Scott Young smiling at the camera.MEDIA ADVISORY – The Manitoba Museum’s Planetarium Astronomer, Scott Young, will be hosting a press conference on Thursday, April 4 to answer media questions regarding the upcoming solar eclipse and the Manitoba Museum’s Solar Eclipse Viewing Party.


Date: Thursday, April 4, 2024
Time: 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Location: Manitoba Museum Auditorium at 190 Rupert Ave. Please enter through the lower concourse stairwell.

A partial solar eclipse will be visible in Manitoba on Monday April 8 between 12:30 pm and 3:15 pm. A Solar Eclipse Viewing Party and live stream event, hosted by the Manitoba Museum in partnership with Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, will be held at The Leaf in Assiniboine Park on Monday, April 8 between 12:30 pm and 3:15 pm.


For more information regarding the 2024 solar eclipse please visit our website.


For Additional Information:

Brandi Hayberg, Manager of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 204 988 0614


SCO Launches ‘Manidoo Miiniigooizowin: A Gift from the Creator’ at the Manitoba Museum

“This special exhibition honours strength and resilience, and celebrates 25 years of advocacy and service for SCO.” – Grand Chief Jerry Daniels
A promo image for exhibit 'Manidoo Miiniigooizowin: A Gift from the Creator'. On a green background to the left, below a large

ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is pleased to announce “Manidoo Miiniigooizowin, A Gift from the Creator,” SCO’s special 25th Anniversary Exhibit on display now at the Manitoba Museum.

“The Southern Chiefs’ Organization is very pleased to launch “Manidoo Miiniigooizowin, A Gift from the Creator,” a powerful exhibit that showcases incredible objects that represent our 34 Anishinaabe and Dakota member Nations,” shared Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “The exhibition is a celebration of the past, present, and future. The objects on display exemplify the beauty and resilience of the Anishinaabe and Dakota peoples and celebrate the 25th anniversary of SCO.”

Following the guidance of Elders and Knowledge Keepers, SCO and the Manitoba Museum created the exhibition in ceremony. It opens in advance of spring break, which is the museum’s busiest time of the year.

“Many of the objects in this exhibit have been generously shared by individuals and families who proudly represent their respective Nations, and all were designed or made by talented citizens of the SCO member Nations,” shared Chief E.J. Fontaine of the Sagkeeng Anicinabe First Nation. “I am pleased to share that Amanda McLeod, a Sagkeeng citizen, is the co-curator and I commend SCO for ensuring a talented southern First Nation person had a prominent role in developing the exhibit.”

This exhibit also includes historical objects from the Manitoba Museum collections —community treasures from decades past. With both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ on display, Manidoo Miiniigooizowin, A Gift from the Creator showcases a walk through many Anishinaabe and Dakota generations.

SCO thanks the Manitoba Museum and expresses gratitude for providing the space for the exhibit.

“Co-creating and co-curating Manidoo Miiniigooizowin: A Gift from the Creator with the Southern Chiefs’ Organization was a great honour for our team and a meaningful opportunity to celebrate SCO’s incredible history and contemporary work. Community exhibitions offer the Museum a unique way to discover and share stories that help us know and appreciate one another; Manidoo Miiniigooizowin honours the diverse identities, knowledge, resistance, strengths, and talents of Anishinaabe and Dakota peoples. This beautiful collaboration will bring many communities together, for which we are truly grateful,” shared Dorota Blumczyńska, Chief Executive Officer of the Manitoba Museum.

“In curating this exhibit, we wanted to showcase the vibrancy, talents, and skills of Anishinaabe and Dakota peoples and it also broaden the perception of what First Nations art is. As such, we chose to include artists and makers at various stages of their careers and across a multitude of media, from historical to contemporary,” stated Amanda McLeod, Co-Curator and member of the Sagkeeng Anicinabe Nation.

McLeod earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Conservation Studies at Birmingham City University and the City and Guilds of London Art School in London, England, before returning home to earn a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies and Curatorial Practices at the University of Winnipeg.

“This exhibit started by examining the collections at the museum and we found 19 SCO member Nations were represented. From there, Amanda reached out to community members to ensure all 34 Nations were showcased. Co-curating this exhibit with Amanda has not only been really enjoyable but also incredibly beneficial for relationship-building and working together in the spirit of respect and reciprocity,” shared Dr. Amelia Fay, Curator of Anthropology and the HBC Museum Collection.

The Manidoo Miiniigooizowin, A Gift from the Creator exhibit runs for one year. Admission to the Manitoba Museum is free of charge for First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples. The exhibit is the first of several events SCO has planned to recognize and celebrate their 25 years of advocacy and service.



The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 87,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is celebrating 25 years of service as an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.


For media inquiries:


Manitoba Museum hosts Documentary Screening & Panel Discussion

A black and white photograph of a group of refugees on a small boat in the water.

(Winnipeg, MB: February 20, 2024) – The Manitoba Museum will be hosting a documentary screening and panel discussion on Friday, March 1 at 7:00 pm for the documentary Passage to Freedom.

Passage to Freedom features the powerful oral histories of Southeast Asian refugees who made dangerous journeys from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to Canada between 1975 and 1985. The film weaves archival clips of news stories, wartime footage, and interviews with former refugees and Canadian immigration officials. It delves into refugees’ integration into the fabric of Canadian life and highlights the contributions of the first generation and their descendants. Please be advised that this film addresses topics which could be disturbing to some visitors, or may trigger painful memories.

“The documentary film is a testament of the resilience of those who have been forced to find a path from violence and displacement to resettlement and integration in a new homeland. Their cultural and economic legacy is an invaluable contribution to Canada.” – Dr. Stephanie P. Stobbe, Researcher and Curator of Hearts of Freedom Exhibition, and Professor at Canadian Mennonite University.

The documentary is part of the pop-up exhibition, Hearts of Freedom: Stories of Southeast Asian Refugees, which is on display in the Museum’s Festival Hall until April 7, 2024.

The evening will take place in the Manitoba Museum’s Auditorium with opening remarks by Senator Marilou McPhedran at 7:00 pm, followed by a screening of Passage to Freedom (50 minutes). A panel discussion and Q&A session will follow.


  • Sheila Petzold – Passage to Freedom producer
  • Stephanie Phetsamay Stobbe – Hearts of Freedom researcher, former Lao refugee
  • Mondy Lim – Hearts of Freedom website and digital exhibit designer, former Cambodian refugee
  • Tam Nguyen – Hearts of Freedom interviewee, former Vietnamese refugee
  • John Wieler – Hearts of Freedom interviewee, former MCC Canada representative

This event is part of the Manitoba Museum’s monthly First Friday programming, during which visitors can explore the Museum’s three core attractions – the Museum Galleries, Planetarium, and Science Gallery – at no cost on the First Friday of every month from 4 pm to 9 pm. No tickets are required.

About Hearts of Freedom

The exhibition was created by Dr. Stephanie P. Stobbe and the Hearts of Freedom Museum Exhibition Committee, in collaboration with Canadian Mennonite University, Carleton University, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Canadian Immigration Historical Society, the Vietnamese Canadian Federation, the Lao Association of Ottawa Valley, the Cambodian Association of Ottawa Valley, the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration, and the Manitoba Museum.

The Hearts of Freedom exhibition tour is funded in part by SSHRC and private funders.



Media Contact: 

Brandi Hayberg
Manager of Marketing & Communications
Manitoba Museum

Manitoba Museum Announces 2024 Tribute Gala Honourees

Promotional graphic for the Manitoba Museum's 2024 Tribute Gala. On the right is a photograph of honourees James Cohen and Linda McGarva-Cohen. On the left, text reads,

Winnipeg, MB: January 30, 2024 – The Manitoba Museum will honour two prominent Manitobans at its annual Tribute Gala on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

Community leaders James Cohen and Linda McGarva-Cohen will share the honours at the gala event with proceeds supporting the Manitoba Museum’s Access for All community initiative.

The 2024 Tribute Gala will celebrate and highlight the exceptional contributions made by James and Linda during a conversation with award-winning Canadian broadcast journalist, Shelagh Rogers.

“The Manitoba Museum is an iconic institution in our city and province. It tells the stories of our First Peoples and the generations of others who followed from all over the world. We are all part of the fabric of this great place and the Museum strives to bring all of us together in the hopes of learning about the past and helping to create the path to a promising future. Linda and I are so appreciative to be recognized by this treasured member of our cultural community.” – James Cohen

Funds raised through the annual Manitoba Museum Tribute Gala support the Access for All community initiative by removing financial, social, and cultural barriers to visitation. Through this initiative, the Museum aims to further grow, diversify, and engage new audiences and create a place that belongs to all Manitobans. This involves the continual reflection and assessment of research, collections, exhibitions, and programs to enhance their relevance to Manitoba’s diverse populations including ethnicity, culture, age, gender, and abilities. One of the Access for All initiatives is providing Manitobans access to the Museum at no charge – those Manitobans who would otherwise not have the opportunity to engage in memorable learning experiences that bridge our understanding and love of history, nature, and science with today’s reality and hopes for the future.

The Manitoba Museum 19th annual Tribute Gala will take place in Alloway Hall on April 24, 2024. For information on reserving tables, purchasing tickets, exploring sponsorship opportunities, or donating to the Access for All community initiative, please visit our webpage or contact Cassidy Nicholls at or 204-988-0629.

2024 Tribute Gala Honourees

James Cohen is a Winnipeg-based community builder, business leader, volunteer, and philanthropist. He is President and CEO of real estate and energy investment company Gendis Inc., a past-Chair of several organizations including: Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Manitoba Museum, The Manitoba Museum Foundation Inc. and The Young Presidents Organization YPO Manitoba Chapter and also served a full 8 year maximum term on the board of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and began his three decades of volunteering with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club and the West End Cultural Centre. James is also a successful published musician and songwriter as founder of James Cohen and the Prairie Roots Rockers who released their debut album in 2011 on Soccermom Records / Warner Music Canada and featured the radio hit “So Long Sweet Deception” which appeared nationally on the Mediabase Active Rock Top 50 Chart for 16 consecutive weeks.

Linda McGarva-Cohen is a longtime volunteer, event planner and philanthropist who has served on the boards of several organizations including the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Downtown Winnipeg Biz Placemaking Committee, The Manitoba Theatre for Young People and Ace Art Inc. Previously she worked as a graphic designer, marketing specialist, and fashion illustration instructor.

James and Linda have supported a wide variety of causes in our community and abroad including the Assiniboine Park Conservancy Amur Tiger Exhibit, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Manitoba Museum, The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, University of Manitoba, St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, True North Youth Foundation’s Camp Manitou, Harvest Manitoba, Ronald McDonald House, World Vision Canada, and various Winnipeg area hospitals.

They both believe in giving back by thinking globally, acting locally, and trying to help make our world of over 8 billion people a better place.



Media Contact: 

Brandi Hayberg
Manager of Marketing & Communications
Manitoba Museum

Hearts of Freedom shares the impactful stories of Southeast Asian refugees

Promotional graphic for Hearts of Freedom exhibition featuring six photographs of groups of refugees. Text reads,

Winnipeg, MB: January 2, 2024 – Stories of loss, stories of courage, stories of triumph. The Manitoba Museum is proud to host a pop-up exhibition which shares the emotional and impactful stories of Southeast Asian refugees who came to Canada between 1975 and 1985, and the stories of those who assisted them.

Impacted by the Vietnam War, the Lao Secret War, and the Cambodian Genocide, millions of refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia were forced to flee their homelands and to seek safety in other countries. Hearts of Freedom: Stories of Southeast Asian Refugees tells the stories of these survivors, in their own words and through their unique perspectives, adding to the fabric of the Canadian history of immigration.

“At the Manitoba Museum, we strive to collect and tell the stories of all the peoples of our province. This is an important exhibition that shares the incredible history of the Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian people who escaped war and genocide to find a new home in Canada, and in Manitoba.” – Roland Sawatzky, Curator of History at the Manitoba Museum.

The exhibition, curated by Dr. Stephanie Phetsamay Stobbe and created in collaboration with the Hearts of Freedom Exhibition Committee, is comprised of a variety of panels detailing the stories of refugee journeys through photographs and shared memories captured in interviews. Each panel’s interpretive text gives the reader further insight into the paths and obstacles faced by those making the difficult and often dangerous expedition.

“This is the first museum exhibition in Canada that showcases the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian experiences in resettlement and settlement in Canada, and their successful integration. It also highlights the contributions they have made and continue to make in Canada and around the world.” – Stephanie Stobbe, Curator of HOF – Stories of Southeast Asian Refugees and Professor at Canadian Mennonite University.

Hearts of Freedom: Stories of Southeast Asian Refugees, will open to the public in the Manitoba Museum’s Festival Hall on January 5, 2024, with an official opening event on January 19. The exhibition will be on display until April 7, 2024.

About Hearts of Freedom

The exhibition was created by Dr. Stephanie Stobbe and the Hearts of Freedom Museum Exhibition Committee, in collaboration with Canadian Mennonite University, Carleton University, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Canadian Immigration Historical Society, the Vietnamese Canadian Federation, the Lao Association of Ottawa Valley, the Cambodian Association of Ottawa Valley, the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration, and the Manitoba Museum.

The Hearts of Freedom exhibition tour is funded in part by SSHRC and private funders.



Media Contact: 

Brandi Hayberg
Manager of Marketing & Communications
Manitoba Museum