Message from the Executive Director
Photographer: Michel Dubreuil
350 Years of History, A Reason to Celebrate!
2018 marks the 350th anniversary of an event that played a pivotal role in the future of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal. The museum has the deed of sale for François Le Ber’s agricultural land signed by Marguerite Bourgeoys on September 21, 1668. The spacious fieldstone house on this property would become the workroom of the King’s Wards, a farmhouse and a small school before being converted into a museum.
With this acquisition began a long tradition of farming nuns – farmhands – who ensured the self-sufficiency of the first Community of women religious in Ville Marie dedicated to the education of children. Today, Maison Saint-Gabriel, museum and historic site, is preserving this rich heritage and the memory of these consecrated women while perpetuating their mission.
Our temporary exhibit, 350 Years of History, highlights Montréal’s rural past through the ages. By rediscovering the history of the farm in the Pointe, from its peak period in the 18th century to the urbanization of the 20th century, we find out what motivated the major changes that were made to ensure the continuation of the educational work of Marguerite Bourgeoys.
The symbolism of this anniversary is particularly important for our museum; it recalls the avant-garde vision of a woman whose work is still alive today through the actions of the museum. That is why our cultural programming for 2018 brings me the utmost satisfaction. The museum’s flagship activities are a mix of old and new.
Therefore, this summer, Sundays with artisans, musicians and comedians will share the calendar with the return of family days launched in 2017 – Play in New France and Sheep’s Wool. The success of our last year’s activities geared towards our young public has encouraged us to pursue our efforts in this direction.
Last season the garden experience was enhanced with the inauguration of the Jardin des origines and will surely attract new visitors this year with the addition of horticultural conferences and workshops on beekeeping on Saturdays during the summer.
For a fourth year, I am delighted to relaunch the Bread Run in the streets of Pointe-Saint-Charles. Especially beneficial for the citizens of the neighbourhood, this initiative helps the museum remain an active part of the life of its milieu. Finally, the professional storytellers, who are always present for historical workshops and evening events, will be offering 17th century lunch experiences this fall at the museum restaurant, Le Réfectoire, with “At the Table with Jos Bissonnette” (the beggar) and “At the Table with the Catherinettes.” The museum is thus promoting intangible heritage in a convivial atmosphere.
I extend a personal invitation to all of you to come and enjoy a memorable visit to Maison Saint-Gabriel and experience our passion for history.