A Bounty of Lilacs in Montreal's Botanical Garden

A Bounty of Lilacs in Montreal's Botanical Garden

I visited the Montreal Botanical Garden on a beautiful May day. I brought my camera with the intention of going on a photo safari: an activity where I pick a theme and focus on artworks (or in this case, plants) around that theme, with the aim of looking at everything differently. At first, I thought I [...]

Read More

Music in the Museum: Chopin and the Polish Princess in Paris

Music in the Museum: Chopin and the Polish Princess in Paris

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts offers a musical audioguide, which pairs different artworks with various musical selections. One of my favorite combinations is that of a Polish princess and a Chopin Polonaise. Paul Delaroche, the Romantic French painter, was a big deal in the 19th century, as famous as his contemporary Delacroix. When he wasn't traveling, he [...]

Read More

Toulouse-Lautrec's Women of the Belle Époque

Toulouse-Lautrec's Women of the Belle Époque

I went to the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition looking for calm. It’s been an intense week; the semester is halfway over, which means the projects for my seminars need to be at a certain point of completion. When I saw that I had an hour-long pocket in my schedule on Tuesday, I decided to fill it with some Toulouse-Lautrec [...]

Read More

Music in the Museum: The Cult of the Virgin Mary

Music in the Museum: The Cult of the Virgin Mary

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with its musical audioguide. The first stop on the audio tour was a French statue of the Virgin and Child from the 14th century. The cult of the Virgin Mary was very common in both the visual and musical cultures of that time. This [...]

Read More

The Musical Audioguide at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The Musical Audioguide at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

When I learned last year that the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts offered a musical audioguide, I believe I actually scoffed. A musical audioguide seemed like taking what can be a stereotypically unsexy museum offering and making it even more unattractive. I don’t know exactly what was expecting, perhaps being subjected to fuzzy elevator [...]

Read More

Hunting for Beavers in La Maison du Castor (Château Ramezay)

Hunting for Beavers in La Maison du Castor (Château Ramezay)

Montreal’s Château Ramezay has a fuzzy past. The grand house was originally built for Claude de Ramezay, the governor of Montreal from 1703 to 1724. But Ramezay went a little overboard, spending way too much of his own money on the building project. After his widow’s death in 1745, the heirs sold the property to the West Indies Company, which had a monopoly on the export of beaver [...]

Read More

Gardens of the Way of the Cross - Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

Gardens of the Way of the Cross - Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

My Montreal museum cocktail for the week led me to the small museum in Saint Joseph's Oratory, the grand basilica located on one of Mount Royal's peaks. I had already passed the Oratory and its enormous dome several times, and I was excited to learn what it was exactly. On a sunny May day, I arrived at the base of the Oratory's hill and was faced with seemingly never-ending outdoor stairs winding their [...]

Read More

Montreal's History in 8 Tweets (Montreal Points of View at the McCord Museum)

Montreal's History in 8 Tweets (Montreal Points of View at the McCord Museum)

Montreal - Points of View, a permanent exhibition at the McCord Museum, gives the visitor an overview of Montreal's history. It takes 10 different facets of the story, presenting the historic districts and people through objects, video interviews, and texts. There was a lot of history to process, especially for someone [...]

Read More

A Museum in the Fire Station: the Musée des Pompiers

A Museum in the Fire Station: the Musée des Pompiers

There is a museum that has intrigued me since I moved to Montreal. Each time I go to my favorite microbrewery Dieu du Ciel in Mile End, I pass a palatial fire station with a sign advertising the Musée des Pompiers (Firefighter Museum). I hadn't visited it yet, as it has the smallest window of opening hours imaginable [...]

Read More

Visit the World's Great Libraries in Virtual Reality: The Library at Night

Visit the World's Great Libraries in Virtual Reality: The Library at Night

Hands down, The Library at Night is one of the coolest exhibitions I've been to lately, maybe ever. It explores ten great libraries of the world using virtual reality. It's more than an exhibition: the virtual reality makes it a personal experience. I cannot recommend it highly enough. In a nutshell, The Library at Night (La bibliothèque, la nuit) is a "virtual exploration" of [...]

Read More

Château Ramezay: Historic House in Montreal

Château Ramezay: Historic House in Montreal

Claude de Ramezay was the governor of Montreal from 1703 to 1724. He decided that, as governor, he needed to have a grand home that befit the importance of the office. Ramezay went a little overboard, spending way too much of his own money. But the Château earned him bragging rights [...]

Read More

Museums of Montreal, Cocktail Version

Museums of Montreal, Cocktail Version

I have lived in Montreal for six months, and I have visited six museums. The shame! There are over forty museums on the island, so a grand total of six museums (albeit visited multiple times) is not a great batting average. I've had a lot on my plate with adjusting to life in Montreal: finding and fluffing a nest, dealing with Canadian immigration, and figuring out what my [...]

Read More

Valentine's Day at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Valentine's Day at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Valentine's Day is upon us again. Commercial though it may be, I have always liked this holiday. I'll take any excuse to celebrate love! This year, I am organizing a Valentine's Day get together at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I've crafted some love-themed activities and mapped out the paintings that depict love in various forms [...]

Read More

Pompeii at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Pompeii at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts just opened a large exhibition on Pompeii, with over 220 archeological artifacts. I was blown away (yikes, pun not intended). The objects were exceptional, from the colorful wall frescoes to the almost 2000-year-old bowl of olives. And the scenography was gorgeous; I [...]

Read More

Home Furnishings from the Museum

Home Furnishings from the Museum

I am (still) in the midst of furnishing my new Montréal apartment. I have spent hours searching for fun and functional furniture and decorations to make this nest feel like home.  After spending a recent morning assembling furniture, I decided to treat myself with a visit to the Montreal Museum of [...]

Read More

Love in a Garden

Love in a Garden

This painting, this fête galante, full of lovers in a garden, is a celebration of flirtation and love. While the young lovers are the focal point of the painting, a full half of the painting is dedicated to the landscape, to the architecture, to the physicality of the scene. As I looked at this painting by Nicolas Lancret, newly [...]

Read More

Museum-Inspired Christmas Ornaments

Museum-Inspired Christmas Ornaments

This month's Creativity Theme is CELEBRATION. So, with Christmas approaching, I gave myself a challenge for my visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: find a way to celebrate Christmas inspired by artwork seen in the museum. I figured the most literal way to be inspired would be by [...]

Read More