Winnipeg, MB (March 30, 2016): The Manitoba Museum ensures access to all – new Manitobans, people in crisis and those who face a variety of social and economic barriers. Recently, with support from The City of Winnipeg and the S.M. Blair Family Foundation, the Manitoba Museum has extended a special welcome to Syrian refugees resettling in Winnipeg by providing them with complimentary passes to the Museum. The Museum is uniquely suited to receive the new Syrian families and introduce them to the heritage, diversity and history of their new home.
Despite the weather and the language barriers, many have already used their passes to visit the galleries. The Museum works with Welcome Place, NEEDS inc., and Refuge Winnipeg to ensure newcomers to Manitoba have the opportunity to learn about the province and experience our warm hospitality.
“The Manitoba Museum’s mission is not only to preserve our heritage, it is also to inspire personal discovery and engage our public in meaningful dialogue. It is essential that the Museum is as inclusive as possible in carrying out this mission. It is through our Access for All initiative that we are able to reach out to the community to provide free access to those who would otherwise not be able to visit the Museum and learn about Manitoba,” says Claudette Leclerc, the Museum’s Executive Director. “We are very proud that over 59,000 complimentary tickets were redeemed last year.”
When describing the first visit by Syrian refugee families, Esther Kiernan from Provincial Services, Community Service Delivery, Manitoba Family Services said, “Over 50 people went. From four-month-olds to the moms and dads. We did not have an interpreter so they really had no clue what they were seeing but they all enjoyed the outing! Pictures of buffalos and tipis and … ships are now plastered all over Syria as many of the people have phones and Facebook. People in Syria will wonder what Canada is all about!”
Three distinct programs fall under the Access for All umbrella. The Call it Homeprogram offers newcomers an opportunity to enhance their language and life skills through the Museum’s unique resources and programs. The Youth-Accessprogram facilitates an environment of inclusion for children and youth who may be financially-disadvantaged or at-risk. The Community Access program ensures access to the Museum for all Manitobans in need. It provides respite to women and children affected by domestic violence and offers a safe learning environment for adults assimilating back into the community. The program also allows single-parent and low-income families an opportunity to come to the Museum to spend time together, to be entertained, and to learn about Manitoba and the universe. It is also through this program that the Manitoba Museum opens its doors, free of charge, for our province’s annual Manitoba Day Celebration.
Community partners are the principal force behind the development and continued success of the Manitoba Museum’s Access for All community initiative. For more information about accessing the program or to make a donation to support it, please call 204-988-0662 or email[email protected].