January 2020

A remarkable year for Pointe-à-Callière in 2019

Pointe-à-Callière, visitors, 2019, museum
Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, drew 504,793 visitors over the past year, making 2019 the second busiest year in the Museum’s history.
Photo: Pointe-à-Callière / Caroline Thibault / Caroline Bergeron

Pointe-à-Callière had an extremely successful year in 2019—renewing two of its permanent exhibitions and presenting three international-calibre temporary exhibitions. The incredibly wide range of subjects addressed in the exhibitions and cultural activities drew 504,793 visitors to the Museum over the past year, making 2019 the second busiest year in Pointe-à-Callière’s history.

New technology in the spotlight
Last April, Pointe-à-Callière inaugurated the new multimedia show Generations MTL, projected onto a one-of-a-kind immersive installation. In addition to enjoying a very positive audience reaction, the show was recognized at the 2019 Muse Design Awards, an international competition that rewards professionals in the world of design and creativity. The Museum also created new versions of its virtual characters, taking advantage of the latest developments in voice recognition, artificial intelligence, and real-time 3D animation. “New technologies allow us to give our visitors a variety of experiences and, above all, to bring history and an exceptional archaeological site to life. We are seeing it more and more among our visitors, the efforts made to offer interactive and immersive museology are very highly appreciated,” explains Francine Lelièvre, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière.

Privileged access to rarely shown objects
One of the standout moments for the Museum in 2019 was the presentation of Dinner is Served! The Story of French Cuisine, entirely created and produced by Pointe-à-Callière. This exhibition, one of the first to address the subject of the French gastronomic meal—recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage—allowed for the presentation of exceptional objects that, in some cases, had never left France. In fact, the Museum’s exhibition captured the attention of several French museums, and it is notably scheduled to travel to Sèvres, Cité de la céramique in 2020.

Pointe-à-Callière was also able to secure the loan of important and invaluable objects from the Musées royaux d’art et d’histoire in Brussels for the exhibition The Incas, Treasures of Peru, in an exclusive North American engagement until April 13 of this year. Some of the featured objects made of feathers and textiles are extremely old and so fragile that they will no longer be able to travel or to be displayed ever again. “After over 25 years of operation, Pointe-à-Callière has acquired great credibility among many lenders around the world, and the relationships we have established allow us to present exceptional pieces and objects to both Montrealers and visitors,” states Francine Lelièvre.

The Museum also had the chance to extend by one year the presentation of the exhibition Into the Wonder Room, which gathers over 1,000 objects from the Musée des Confluences, some ten other institutions, and private collectors. This exhibition, which examines the unique world of cabinets of curiosities, was seen by over 200,000 people in 2019, including many children who are fascinated by the exotic and often unusual objects on display. This exhibition will continue until January 10, 2021 at Pointe-à-Callière.

The circus in the centre ring at the Museum in the summer of 2020
Starting on May 27, 2020, Pointe-à-Callière will present an all-new exhibition on the circus arts, with several activities for the whole family. The exhibition will trace the history of the circus, from early performances by travelling circus troupes in Europe and elsewhere to today’s over-the-top international shows. The exhibition, imagined and created by Pointe-à-Callière, will show how the circus arts have rapidly taken root and grown in Québec and Montréal in recent decades. Through the presentation of over 350 objects, it will pay tribute to this art form that is further raising Montréal’s profile on the international scene. Costumes, set pieces, works of art, accessories, scale models, iconic objects, training and stage equipment will be displayed alongside archives, photos, video footage, and projections. All of it will come together to recreate a world of fantasy, taking visitors on an unforgettable adventure that speaks to an extraordinary legacy.

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