February 2019

Press release

Into the Wonder Room at Pointe-à-Callière An ode to the fascinating and wonderful world of cabinets of curiosities

Montréal, February 12, 2019 – Starting February 13, 2019, Pointe-à-Callière presents Into the Wonder Room, an exhibition that invites you into the mysterious and unique world of cabinets of curiosities. A true homage to the beauty and strangeness of the world, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey around the globe, showcasing over 1,000 rare, often exotic, and sometimes unusual objects displayed in impressive installations. The exhibition brings together objects from the collections of the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France, as well as hundreds of items from the collections of several museums in Québec and Canada, and from private collectors.

“It’s important to remember that cabinets of curiosities are the ancestors of today’s sciences and museums. With this exhibition, we are paying tribute to explorers, scientists, and collecters from every era, driven by a quest for knowledge, cultural diversity, far-away lands, and that rare and sometimes mysterious or exotic object that can spark awe or astonishment in the viewer,” explains Francine Lelièvre, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière. “In this sense, Into the Wonder Room is a veritable invitation to discover and be fascinated by the diversity of the world. It will surely appeal to visitors of all ages,” she adds.

Curiosities from other times and places
The exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to explore the history of cabinets of curiosities—or “wonder rooms”—down through the ages, from the homes of European aristocrats, great explorers, and scholars in past centuries to Québec “curiosity rooms” and the homes of certain contemporary collectors. The exhibition layout leads to a truly eclectic and immersive wonder room, recreating the spectacular effect of a cabinet of curiosities in a monumental installation that includes scores of multicoloured butterflies and birds, along with a profusion of unusual objects from around the world.

The final zone of the exhibition is dedicated to the all-consuming passion and singular universe of seven Montréal- and Québec-based collectors, featuring interviews and several objects from their collections. Of note are some objects belonging to a collector who is at once a plangonologist (doll collector), an arctophile (collector of old stuffed toys), and a ludophile (toy collector).

For more information, see the complete exhibition synopsis, with photos.

Strange and surprising objects and items!
The exhibition showcases mysterious objects, fantastic creatures, mounted animals, and scientific instruments. Among the more impressive and fascinating are a mastodon tooth, a dinosaur egg, an albino moose, a Victorian-era ornithological display case, a Kaga school samurai armour, a two-headed calf, an armillary sphere, and Virginia deer whose antlers became locked in battle, causing their death.

This Pointe-à-Callière exhibition is based on an original concept by the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France, which the Museum sincerely thanks. Pointe-à-Callière would also like to thank its many museum partners, the Musée de la nature et des sciences in Sherbrooke, the Musée de la civilisation in Québec City, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Collections of Université Laval, and the Canadian Museum of Nature, as well as several private collectors from Québec, including Richard Béliveau, Herby Dumoulin, Maxime Chouinard, Aude Boudreau, Ethné and Philippe de Vienne, Benoît Chouinard, Anouk Pennel, and Denis Allison, all of whom agreed to lend parts of their collections for this exhibition.

The Museum wishes to thank the exhibition’s sponsors for their invaluable support: Air Canada Cargo, Tourisme Montréal, InterContinental Montréal, and La Presse.

Into the Wonder Room is presented from February 13, 2019 to January 5, 2020.

About Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Archaeology and History Complex
Pointe-à-Callière, the birthplace of Montréal, is the city’s largest history museum. Rising above a concentrated number of national historic and archaeological sites, the museum complex’s mission is to raise awareness and foster an appreciation of Montréal’s history, and to forge bonds with regional, national, and international networks.

Pointe-à-Callière is subsidized by the City of Montréal.

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A full synopsis of the exhibition is available here.

Photos and images of the exhibition are available online or on demand.


Eveline Trudel-Fugère
Project Manager, Communications
Phone: 514 872-2687 / Mobile : 514 704-2225
[email protected]