Everybody, mark your calendars! On May 29th it’s Montreal Museums Day. On this fine day, Montreal opens 30 museums for free and to sweeten the deal, there are even shuttle buses, activities and events- all free of charge. If lasts year’s numbers still ring true and are any indication of how things will go this year, 100,000 people will be soaking up the culture, expanding their horizons and eating ice cream…
Montreal Museums Day can be a daunting one. It can be difficult to narrow down exactly the best way to take advantage of all this free stuff, so below you’ll find a briefing of what’s happening and on an almost more important note, where to get the ice cream:
Pointe a Calliere
Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal’s Museum of Archeology and History, is one of the city’s finest museums. They will be displaying their permanent exhibition Where Montréal Was Born, its new multimedia show Yours Truly, Montréal, and Montréal Love Stories – The Cultural Connection. If that’s not enough, the temporary exhibit, To Your Health, Caesar! Wine and the Gaul’s looks great. It’s a history of wine and how this magical elixir influenced the great civilizations of yore. It’s worth it even to see if there’s an analysis of Montreal’s corner store wine phenomenon. You can also take in A Cultural Feast and learn about the talents and traditions of all the cultures that make Montreal so unique.
Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center
Montreal is also notorious for its vibrant Jewish community; the city of Montreal accepted the third largest number of Holocaust survivors in the world. These are the people that established the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center in 1976 with the mandate to sensitize, preserve and remember. The center is a place to learn the history and meet and listen to a Holocaust survivor.
Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art
This year, the Museum of Contemporary Art is host to the most “extensive display it has ever mounted.” Go and check out Deja, an exhibit of the major works from their collection that strive to detail the multi-disciplinary nature of modern art. It was curated to highlight the overlapping of disciplines in pieces by artists from Quebec, Canada and the world. Expect to see art by David Altmejd, Nicolas Baier, Louise Bourgeois, Mona Hatoum, Ann Hamilton, and Claude Tousignant among many others.
At 1pm, there’s the Bits of Worlds workshop that is open to all. It’s a family oriented event inspired by the work of Serge Murphy and his piece Affections. By using recycled material and mixed media you are invited to contribute to a mural that will be part of the MACM’s collection. Probably the most artful human invention, ice cream, will also be on sale from the most well loved ice cream spot in Montreal, Bilboquet.
Finally, Arrimage 2011- Geometric Variations showcases the work of hundreds of students from seventeen Montreal elementary schools. The art is inspired by the students’ visits to the Montreal Science Center and the Contemporary Art Museum. Their pieces are an exploration of how art and science relate to each other through pictorial, modular and geometric volumes.
The Biodome is not a museum about the ill-fated movie of the same name starring Stephen Baldwin and Pauly Shore. But it is a biodome and it is amazing. Always a favourite among the young and old alike, Montreal’s Biodome is also offering free admission to their wonderful biospheres. This is a rare opportunity, so take advantage! Learn about all kinds of creatures in just one hour by strolling through the museums eco-systems of the America’s (Tropical Rainforest, Laurentian Maple Forest, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Labrador Coast, Sub Antarctic Islands). Check out the current exhibit, Humans at the Heart of Climate Change in the amphitheatre lobby where guests are invited to learn about the reality of climate change and energy efficiency.
Guest blogger: Sophie Naima Caird
350 Pl Royale
Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center
5151, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
185 Sainte-Catherine Ouest
Montreal, QC H2X 3X5
4777, avenue Pierre-De Coubertin
photo credits: Mario Melillo, US Mission Canada