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Rage Against the Machine's old touring van on display in Winnipeg

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It had a front-row seat to the rise of Rage Against the Machine, and now the relic of the band's early days is on display at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

When it formed in Los Angeles in 1991, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello got 1985 Chevy Astro van.

"The van itself was used by Rage Against the Machine for one-off shows and touring from 1991 to 1993, for tours with like Ice-T, Public Enemy and Pearl Jam," Travis Tomchuk, a curator of Canadian human rights history at the museum.

That van now sits in a display on the sixth floor of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as a part of a new exhibit 'Beyond the Beat: Rage Against the Machine.'

The exhibition also features a 3D tactile photo of band members, interview clips, and video projections.

The band's music explores themes such as police brutality, corporate greed, and Indigenous rights –making them, and the van, ideal subjects for the museum.

"I think the van is just a really interesting way of talking a bit more about Rage Against the Machine, the band's politics, the various social justice issues that they've taken on during the course of their career," Tomchuk said.

The van is on loan to the museum from The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The exhibit opens to the public on Friday.

It's also a forerunner to a larger exhibition called "Beyond the Beat: Music of Resistance and Change' which will open next February. It will explore how music has spurred social movements. across decades. 

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