Your own private museum: several Montreal museums to reopen, saying distance can be a good thing
MONTREAL -- Montreal museums are coming back, one after another, and they have a new marketing draw: you may feel like you’re the only one there.
In the midst of worries about crowds, “paradoxically, it will be almost like a private [experience] for our visitors,” said Suzanne Sauvage of the McCord Museum.
“They will seldom have the opportunity to be in a museum by themselves.”
The McCord opens Tuesday. On Wednesday, it’s the MAC or Musée d’art contemporain’s turn. On Thursday, it’s the Stewart Museum on Île Ste-Hélène.
Quebec museums officially got the go-ahead to reopen in late May, but each is working on its own schedule, making sure it’s set up to be able to respect social distancing rules.
Most are asking people to reserve their visits online in advance. At the Stewart Museum, visitors are told to bring a smartphone and earbuds to listen to the audio guide.
At the MAC, a one-way route will guide people through exhibitions, offering frequent hand-sanitizing stations. Masks are recommended.
The McCord has increased its cleaning schedule and will keep people distanced. “We've put everything in place to make sure people feel safe,” said Sauvage.
The museums are also hoping their offerings are what people need right now. Feeling cooped up? The Stewart Museum creates a trip to Île Ste-Hélène plus its own beautiful courtyard people can explore for free. Feeling broke? Admission to the MAC will be free on June 24 for the Fête Nationale.
At the McCord, the iconic fashion designs of Jean-Claude Poitras are still on display, and a new collection of cartoons by Serge Chapleau will be unveiled on Tuesday.
“It's a retrospective, 50 years of the career of Chapleau, and I think the timing couldn't be better, because people will laugh and smile…and I think we need that right now,” said Sauvage.
Feeling too hot? Most museums can help out in that sense with their air-conditioning. The McCord also has an urban garden alongside the building that’s a shaded place to hide out from the heat wave—for one thing or another, they hope, people will come trickling back.