The 1001 ways to discover the history of Montreal this summer

A sensory history festival, podcasts, guided tours and exhibitions on new themes: Montreal’s history museums are bursting with creativity to explore different facets of the city’s history this summer.

Explore the mysteries of the Bonsecours Chapel fire, listen to a podcast on daily life in the former “Faubourg à m’lasse” district, take part in an online game about a crime in New France, listen to old Canadian music on gramophones, or deciphering the flag of the patriots. From May 13 to 15, Montreal’s history museums are offering dozens of activities of all kinds as part of the 2e Montreal History Festival.

“The Festival is an opportunity to make a buffet! We bring together “tasting” elements, for those who are not used to consuming history, and slightly more substantial dishes, with conferences that go a little more in depth”, explains Jean-François Leclerc, President of the organizing committee and spokesperson for the Festival. Most activities are free, although some require an entrance fee. Activities are offered in person and virtually at 14 museums across the city. The event will also mark the 380e Montreal’s birthday.

“The other objective is to make everyone understand that history is very much related to our current concerns,” continues the spokesperson. He gives the example of a lecture on the Festival schedule on the education of boys in the 19th century.e century, and which allows us to understand how young boys were to become “men” with the values ​​of the time – a subject that still resonates in mentalities today. “We try to find activities that will meet the concerns we have today. It can be ecology, there is an activity that will take place on Mount Royal with the history of trees, he illustrates. There is the Afromusée which participates with a map of places, people and events important to Afro-descendants of Montreal, “adds the one who hopes that other communities whose history is often in the shadows will inspired by the creation of the young Afromusée and joined the Festival in the years to come.

“History is often associated with something a bit serious, but it can be experienced in a playful and sensory way! exclaims Mr. Leclerc. He adds that history museums are not limited to exhibition halls, but that they do important research, reconstruction and education work that often goes unnoticed. “History museums are creative and imaginative, [ils utilisent] both culture, art, technology, knowledge, know-how, he continues. Historians working on exhibits and communicating history is our own station on the past. »

Activities for all tastes

After the Montreal History Festival, those who want to continue to quench their thirst for learning can take advantage of a diversified summer program offered by the city’s various museums. The Musée des Hospitalières continues to highlight Montreal’s religious heritage and the architectural heritage of Victor Bourgeau, in the form of organ recitals or walking or bus tours through the city. At Château Dufresne, the exhibition The Castle in the time of college students focuses on the period, between 1948 and 1961, when the building was transformed into a classical college for boys and trained a French-speaking social and intellectual elite on the eve of the Quiet Revolution.

At the Marguerite-Bourgeoys historic site, women in science are in the spotlight until April 2023. The exhibition Nuns, teachers and… scientists! tells how the Ursulines and the Congrégation de Notre-Dame set up innovative science teaching programs from the 19e century, at a time when this field was reserved for men and when studies were less valued among girls. The exhibition also presents the winding path that led women to be able to study and work in science, limited options for them until the 1960s, the museum said in a press release.

To escape the summer heat, visitors can also visit the temporary exhibitions at Château Ramezay, presenting respectively a collection on the Inuit world and the adventures of polar explorer Roald Amundsen, the first white man to cross the North Passage West and reach the South Pole.

For more details, the summer program can be found on the websites of the various Montreal history museums, including the Écomusée du fier monde, the Maison Saint-Gabriel, the MEM – Center for Montreal Memories, the Museum of ‘Montreal Holocaust, or the Lachine Museum.

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