16 November 2018


Group photo in front of the Centre d'histoire de Montréal. Photo courtesy of Laetitia Dandavino-Tardif.

For the Fall Reading Week (November 5 to 8, 2018), the Museum Studies Student Association (MUSSA) organized a field trip to Montreal, Quebec. 37 students, along with Program Director Cara Krmpotich, had the opportunity to visit museums, meet with museum professionals, and explore the city. Here is a brief summary of our busy 4-day trip:

Day 1

After a long bus ride (while watching Night at the Museum), we went out for dinner in Old Montreal. It was lovely to be all together and get to mingle with fellow classmates. 


Day 2

Morning: Pointe-à-Callière

Starting the day bright and early, the first institution we visited was Pointe-à-Callière, an archaeological and historical museum. Following a guided tour, we met Hendrik Van Gijseghem, Anthropology and History Project Manager, who presented the challenges associated with preserving the archaeological site, Fort Ville-Marie. Then, Élisabeth Monast-Moreau, Exhibition Project Manager, discussed the challenges of museum expansions, and the strategies used to incorporate technology in exhibitions, such as LED lighting.

"Pointe-à-Callière was my favourite institution for the way it portrayed Montreal's history. The comparison to European archaeological sites and how this one differs was especially interesting."
- Amelia Smith, 1st year MMSt Student

Afternoon: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

On arrival at the museum, we were greeted by Anne Grace, Curator of Modern Art, Louise Giroux, Educational Programs Officer, and Thibault Zimmer, Education Projects Coordinator. Anne Grace gave us a curatorial tour of the temporary exhibition Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor. Louise Giroux and Thibault Zimmer showed us the educational department, talked about their health and well-being programs, and the launch of the MMFA online resource for teachers, EducArt.

Finally, we met with Director General and Chief Curator, Nathalie Bondil who shared with us her vision of the MMFA and her perception of the museum world. Her optimism about the future of museums was quite inspiring for all of us.

Day 3

Morning: McCord Museum

At the McCord Museum, Guislaine Lemay, Curator, Indigenous Cultures, presented about the history of the McCord Museum and walked us through the exhibition Wearing our Identity: The First Peoples Collection. Mélanie Deveault, Head, Education, Community Engagement and Cultural Programs, presented the museum's new educational mission. Accompanied by guides, we got a taste of the education program by participating in photography activities.

Lunch Break: Redpath Museum

Some students went to visit the Redpath Museum, a natural history museum, belonging to McGill University, to discover its collection of specimens and minerals.

Afternoon: Centre d'histoire de Montréal

Returning to Old Montreal, we visited the Centre d'histoire de Montréal (CHM). Jean-François Leclerc, Director, presented the challenges associated with being located in a heritage building as well as the rebranding to the MEM (“Mémoire des Montréalais”) and moving downtown. Museum professional, Catherine Charlebois, gave a curatorial tour of the Explosion 67 - Youth and their World and its extensive use of technology.
"I really liked everyone we met at the Centre d'histoire de Montreal; they were incredibly invested in the community and the city and I'm excited to see what the new building will be like!"
- Toryn Suddaby, 2nd year, CPD student 

Evening: Emerging Museum Professionals Pub Night

The day was not over yet! Over 60 Museum Studies students from University of Toronto, Université of Montreal and Université du Québec à Montréal gathered together for a networking event. Check out a commemorative video of the vibrant pub night here.

Day 4

Morning: Montreal Holocaust Museum

The last museum we visited before hitting the road back to Toronto was the Montreal Holocaust Museum. After a guided tour, we met with Alice Herscovitch, Executive Director to discuss museum management. She emphasized the challenges related to the museum's sensitive subject matter of genocide. Finally, we were all moved by a survivor's testimony that contributed to our understanding of the events.

This trip was a great learning experience for all of us and valuable experience outside the classroom. We are very thankful for the generous welcome from the various museum professionals.
"The whole trip was definitely worthwhile, thank you very much for organizing it! I truly appreciated getting to know Montreal culture and museum professionals. I hope we can have many other joint programs in the future. All the museum tours were fascinating and  inspirational for our future projects. "  
- Selin Kahramanoglu , 2nd year CDP Student
To see more of our field trip, check out the photos here and follow us on Facebook,  Instagram and Twitter!

Laetitia Dandavino-Tardif
President, Museum Studies Student Association 2018-19

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