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CNEWS | 01Feb2012 | Paul Turenne

Human Rights Museum pleased by poll numbers

WINNIPEG -- The Canadian Museum for Human Rights says a poll that appears to show a relatively low level of interest in visiting the museum is actually reason to celebrate.

According to a poll released Tuesday by Abacus Data and reported exclusively by QMI Agency, only 15% of Canadians say they’re either very or somewhat likely to make a special trip to Winnipeg to visit the museum, which is still under construction.

In addition, 42% of respondents said they’re either unlikely to visit the museum or not at all interested in going, even if they were already in Winnipeg for some other reason.

However, museum officials -- who decided to mull over the poll results for a day before responding Wednesday -- said the flip side of that coin is where the focus should be.

“More than 50% of people said they’d visit if they were already in Winnipeg. That’s a really exciting number for us,” said Angela Cassie, a spokeswoman for the CMHR. “That actually exceeds some of our expectations.”

Cassie said the museum estimated it would have 250,000 visitors per year. Winnipeg gets about 2.6 million visitors per year, so if more than half of them are interested in the museum, that would blow away expectations.

Even if only a portion of the 15% of Canadians who said they were very or somewhat likely to visit Winnipeg to take in the museum did so, that would be millions of people, Cassie said.

“If you extrapolate the numbers in terms of potential visitors, it’s pretty great news for the museum,” she said. “For us, this kind of shows we’re doing well.”

The CMHR is set to open in about two years.