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Essay on Indigenous Tourism

Selected Tourist Attraction: Manitoba Museum

Indigenous Tourism attraction

Being the land of the Ojibway, Cree, Ojibway-Cree, Metis, and Dakota, the province of Manitoba has a strong indigenous heritage and culture. The Manitoba Museum is one of the many indigenous tourist attractions, which is a premier cultural and historical institution. Located in Winnipeg, it has a long history as an important educational resource for generations of Canadians. It opened in July 1970 after the incorporation of two Manitoba Legislatures in 1965 (Manitoba Museum n.d). Over the years, the museum has developed a comprehensive collection of artifacts that document Manitoba’s history from pre-contact to the present day. The museum is home to an impressive collection that includes exhibits on natural history, science and technology, world cultures, and indigenous culture. The latter display was created with input from local indigenous peoples to ensure accuracy; it focuses on First Nations history within the province’s borders. Additional experiences include live performances such as planetarium shows and various events like lectures by guest speakers or family-friendly activities such as workshops or music concerts. The main building houses three floors filled with permanent galleries such as the Indigenous Peoples Gallery and Non-such Gallery that explore different aspects of local history like artistry, exploration, industry, and more (Manitoba Museum n.d).

Who are the people?

Manitoba Museum showcases the indigenous people’s culture of people within the province. Indigenous people are an integral part of the Manitoba landscape. There are four main indigenous communities in the Province: Cree, Ojibway, Dakota, and Ojibway-Cree. The largest group is the Cree, numbering around 85,000 people in Manitoba alone. This is followed by the Ojibway at almost 40,000 people and then the Dakota at over 8500. Lastly is the smaller community of Ojibway-Cree, with roughly 1000 members. There are other smaller communities that include Northern East Cree, Wood Cree, Plain Cree, and Dene (Statistics Canada, n.d).

Organization supporting Manitoba Museum

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is a major partner working with Manitoba Museum to provide more diverse perspectives on Indigenous culture and art in the province. Through programs like WAGx Manitobah Mukluks Story-boot School, they facilitate workshops by local artists who pass down traditional beading techniques while fostering discussions on contemporary Indigenous art movements. Another one is the Association of Manitoba Museums (AMM) which has been a leader in supporting the indigenous experience in Manitoba museums for more than 50 years. This organization has provided an invaluable service to the province’s museums, enabling them to connect with indigenous culture and traditions and provide meaningful experiences for visitors (Manitoba Museum, n.d).

Associated Stakeholders

There are many stakeholders involved in the organization. These range from politicians and funders who provide financial support for its operations to educators and academics who use the museum’s collections for research purposes. The museum’s staffs of about 200 employees are also key stakeholders as they work hard to ensure that Manitoba Museum can continue to offer engaging and educational experiences to visitors (Manitoba Museum, 2022). Local Indigenous peoples are an especially important stakeholder group, as their stories form an integral part of Manitoba’s past that must be accurately represented at the museum. Finally, members of the general public are essential stakeholders since they provide much-needed financial support through donations and memberships while also visiting the museum on a regular basis (Manitoba Museum, 2022).

Mission and Vision

Its mission is to preserve Manitoba’s heritage for all generations and seek the acquisition of knowledge of Manitoba’s culture, history, and the natural world. It also strives to create a community where people can explore their individual stories and cultures while learning about shared experiences that connect all Manitobans. The museum’s vision is to shape the future of Manitoba by sharing stories, expanding knowledge, and encouraging discoveries (Manitoba Museum, n.d).

SWOT analysis

Table 1: SWOT Analysis (Source: Kynman, 2021)


  • Diverse offerings- planetarium, nine permanent museums, and a science gallery
  • Over 300 volunteers
  • Largest museum in the region
  • Strong product development with seven permanent curators

  • Limited hours open to the public
  • It depends on donations
  • It only has 50 positions that are paid and full-time
  • It has temporary exhibitions

  • Special programs
  • Room for technological advancements – for the people living with disabilities
  • Can use legal means to protect its artifacts

  • Rise of other museums
  • High admission price
  • Visitors cannot take photos because of copyright rules
  • Competition from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights which is a high-technology

Profile of the Tourism industry in Manitoba

Manitoba has a long history of tourism and offers visitors a wide range of experiences. From beautiful natural attractions to vibrant urban areas, Manitoba is truly one of Canada’s premier tourist destinations. It supports over 20 460 jobs, and it generates annual revenue of over $625.1 million (Travel Manitoba, n.d). Over the years, the profile of tourism in Manitoba has grown immensely. According to Statistics Canada, the number of international visitors in 2022 was 1,033,000, which was an increase from 471,000 in 2021 (Statistics Canada, n.d). This growth can be attributed to increased investment by the province into marketing campaigns that target international travelers, as well as offering more convenient and affordable transportation options such as rail passes to get around the province. Furthermore, there are many festivals and events that attract large numbers of tourists year-round, such as Folklorama, Festival du Voyageur, and The Red River Ex, which further contribute towards growing tourism numbers in Manitoba (Travel Manitoba, n.d).

Development and planning for Manitoba Museum’s future

According to the 2021/2022 Annual Report, the museum has been making plans for its future, looking at both challenges it must face and opportunities that will help shape what it will become in the 21st Century. One of the significant issues that the museum must overcome is continuing to provide access to its diverse content collections while also meeting growing audience expectations around digital engagement and interactive experiences with technology. To ensure they are meeting this challenge, The Manitoba Museum has increased its focus on utilizing new technologies such as virtual reality tools, augmented reality capabilities, and 3D printing products. These tools have allowed them to create immersive educational experiences for visitors allowing them to explore beyond what could be presented within a traditional exhibition space (Manitoba Museum, 2022).

Who is the target market?

The target market of the Manitoba Museum is broad, with visitors coming from all walks of life. The majority of visitors range in age from young children to seniors, while the average visitor age usually lands around 30-50 years old and hails from within Canada or the United States. As a family-friendly attraction, many families visit the museum together to explore its various exhibits and educational activities. Furthermore, solo travelers often come by for an afternoon spent learning about local history and Manitoba culture. These visitors tend to have a higher income than the average local, as admission rates are relatively expensive compared to other attractions near Winnipeg (Manitoba Museum, n.d).

Marketing and promotion

The museum has an extensive marketing team that works hard to promote its products across a variety of channels. They use a variety of tactics, including traditional media such as print and radio advertising, digital platforms such as website campaigns and social media initiatives, and experiential marketing events like educational workshops and seminars. The museum also offers promotional discounts for memberships or tickets to certain attractions throughout the year, which helps with customer retention. Furthermore, they have a number of partnerships with corporate sponsors, which help support their mission while enabling additional engagement opportunities for potential customers (Manitoba Museum, n.d).

Critical success factors

Manitoba Museum has been a leader in the museum industry for decades. It is one of the most visited cultural institutions in Canada, and its success relies heavily on several critical success factors. The first factor is offering a unique, diverse, and engaging experience for their visitors. This includes creating exhibits that captivate audiences with both interactive displays as well as educational opportunities about local history and culture. Additionally, Manitoba Museum’s staff should have the necessary qualifications to properly inform and educate visitors about what is on display. The second factor is building relationships with local businesses or organizations (such as WAG and AMM) so that they can create programming or other initiatives to promote engagement with their guests (First Nations Education Resource Center Inc, 2022).

Tourism initiatives it has introduced

The museum has introduced new and innovative initiatives to promote tourism. One such example is the “Explore MB” app, which allows visitors access to information about Manitoba’s attractions, history, culture, and experiences. This interactive platform aims to make planning activities for visitors easier and more accessible. Additionally, the museum offers a number of virtual tours that allow people to explore various exhibits from their own homes. The “Behind-the-Scenes Tours” provides an in-depth look at some of Manitoba’s most iconic artifacts while also highlighting how they are cared for by experts in conservation science (2021/2022 Annual Report, 2022).


It provides a wide range of benefits to its community, both economically and culturally. From an economic perspective, the museum creates employment opportunities for many people in the form of paid staff and student volunteers. In addition, it brings much-needed revenue to the area by hosting events such as concerts and festivals, with annual revenue generation of $21.1 million and $ 6 million in taxes (Manitoba Museum, n.d). Culturally, the museum preserves indigenous culture by displaying artifacts and artwork from dozens of first nations cultures from around Manitoba. Additionally, it serves as an educational tool through its interactive exhibits that teach visitors about these ancient cultures and their values. The museum also hosts workshops where guests can learn traditional skills such as basket weaving or pottery making which further strengthens cultural ties among indigenous peoples in the province (Manitoba Museum, n.d).

How are trends affecting this Indigenous tourism product?

The main trend affecting Manitoba museum is the increased popularity of technology-based entertainment. People are no longer content with just visiting a museum; they now expect interactive displays that involve digital media or high-tech gadgets. To meet this demand, it has been working on incorporating new technologies into its spaces, creating an innovative hands-on experience for visitors (Schiele, 2021).

What part does the government play in your destination and product?

The Manitoba Museum is a cornerstone of the province’s history, culture and science. As such, the government plays an important role in funding and supporting the museum’s operations. The government provides financial assistance to help cover operating costs for essential services, as well as special grants for specific programs that support educational and cultural initiatives. This support helps ensure that visitors from all backgrounds have access to quality programming offered at the museum. In addition to providing annual operating funds, the government also assists with capital projects like improvements to infrastructure or technology upgrades. For example, in 2021, museums in the province received $166,000 in provincial funding to support these institutions (Thompson, 2021).

Tourism strategy

Manitoba Museum’s tourism strategy is designed to bring both locals and visitors to the museum. By offering a variety of events, activities, and exhibits, they create experiences that draw in people from all over Manitoba and beyond. Through strategic marketing campaigns that target specific groups, the museum is able to promote their offerings and tailor them to the needs of different audiences. For example, their new “Backyard Explorers” initiative encourages school-aged children to explore science at home with free online activities (Manitoba Museum, n.d).

Authenticity vs. cultural commodification

Manitoba Museum actively engages in conversations about authenticity vs. cultural commodification. The museum often has exhibitions that challenge visitors to consider how their identity as Manitobans is both shaped and preserved through the various ways in which culture can be commoditized or remain authentic. For example, one exhibition may focus on traditional Indigenous crafts and artwork that have remained untouched for centuries before being put on display at the museum. On another floor, there could be a series of modern art installations that explore how popular culture has influenced Manitoban identity over time. In between these two extremes lies a wide range of examples of how culture is embodied within Manitoba’s borders (Manitoba Museum, n.d).

Recommended best practices

Firstly, museums need to ensure they have adequate staffing. An appropriate amount of staff will be able to provide quality customer service as well as maintain the museum’s collection and displays. Secondly, it is essential for museums to develop engaging content for visitors. This can include interactive displays or educational materials such as videos or audio guides which help people enjoy their visit and learn more about what the museum has to offer. Finally, developing partnerships with other organizations like libraries or universities can broaden a museum’s reach and attract different audiences from around the globe.

Recommendations based on best practices of other destinations

Manitoba’s museum can benefit from the best practices of other institutions, particularly Canada Museum of Human Rights. The museum should focus on prioritizing accessibility and inclusion for all visitors, regardless of physical or mental abilities, as practiced by Museum of Surrey. This could involve providing tactile models for visitors with vision impairment, or offering audio tours for those who are hearing impaired. Additionally, the museum should strive to provide educational opportunities that appeal to public interests and cater to multiple age groups. Through hands-on exhibits, interactive activities, and even special events like costume days, children and adults alike can learn about history in an engaging manner that is both fun and enriching.

The museum should also learn from Canada Museum of Human Rights (CMHR) in incorporating technology in its activities. CMHR has advanced technological processes and equipment that improves its consumer experience. For example, it has an audiovisual design that is integrated into all its systems in all the 11 galleries. Other technological advancements include a 360⁰ theater, edge-cutting video projection, motion tracking technology, among others. These practices will help increase practices into the museum (Carter, 2022).


The Manitoba Museum has become a popular destination for its Indigenous cultural displays. As one of Canada’s largest human history museums, the museum works hard to ensure that the stories and culture of indigenous peoples are accurately portrayed. The museum has actually been undergoing renovations for several years in order to accommodate more Indigenous artifacts and interactive experiences. Through this process, it is showcasing both pre-contact and contemporary Aboriginal cultures from across Manitoba in various forms such as photographs, artwork, oral histories with Elders and much more. The museum takes great strides to work closely with many Indigenous communities in order for their voices to be heard through how their stories are represented at the facility. This assignment has not only been educative but enlightening.


Carter, J. (2022). Human Rights Museums: Critical Tensions Between Memory and Justice. Taylor & Francis.

First Nations Education Resource Center Inc., (2022). ‘’Research & Development Team Creating Potential Partnership in Educational Programming with the Manitoba Museum. ‘’

Kynman, T. (2021). Renewed Nonsuch Gallery, Manitoba Museum. Manitoba History, (88), 32-33.

Manitoba Museum. (n.d). About Us.

Manitoba Museum. (n.d). VALUE & BENEFIT.

Manitoba Museum (2022).2021/2022 Annual Report.

Schiele, B. (2021). Science museums and centres: evolution and contemporary trends. In Routledge handbook of public communication of science and technology (pp. 53-76). Routledge.

Statistics Canada. (n.d). Focus on Geography Series, 2016 Census.

Thompson Sam. (September 20, 2021). ‘’Seven local museums get Manitoba 150 funding to help preserve province’s history’’. Global News.

TravelManitoba. (n.d). TOURISM INDUSTR.


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