Saturday, June 30, 2012

Museés encore!

I've made some wonderful discoveries this year in Québec.  Most notably have been the museums and galleries I had not previously visited.  One such delight is the Maison Chevalier, a former 19th century restored mansion with period interiors, furnishings and a 3D exhibit tracing the history of Québec.  An unexpected surprise was the vaults in the basement - former wine cellar - which is now used to display artisans at work at their craft.

Le Musée de la Civilisation has two other subsidiaries that I made time to visit this week.  Firstly, le Musée de l'Amérique Française.  Situated on the site of the first seminary in New France and the first site of Université Laval, this was a museum that I put on the course excursion list because it traces the history of French in North America.  Most people are aware that the French first settled in Québec and in Canada, but not everyone realizes that there are French settlements from the Atlantic coast of the USA, through the Midwest and out to the West coast.  The history explains many city and town names in the US as well as links up with what students have learned about the Louisiana Purchase and its effects on Haiti, USA, France and Britain.  I was impressed with the museum and disappointed that not even one of my students wanted to visit it, especially considering this is a part of their country's history too.

The last of the museums - Centre d'Interprétation de Place-Royale - is located in the heart of Vieux Québec.   This collection offers a wonderful National Film Board of Canada short production on Champlain and the beginnings of French commerce in port of Québec.  Many artifacts as well as a timeline on the development of the square from Champlain to Frontenac and through the British conquest.

I enjoyed my explorations of new museums in the city and its surroundings.  The weather was rainy off and on all this week, so it was perfect for indoor discoveries.

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