This afternoon, me, myself, and I took a trip to Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal’s Museum of Archaeology and History. Located right by the water in Old Port, this very modern building had me wondering if I was in the right place. The interior was quite industrial, and had a sort of tomb-like feel to it. At 1:30pm, two huge metal doors behind the front desk screeched open and all the visitors were funnelled into the room beyond. The room held what at first glance was a movie theatre, except between the comfy seats and the screen was a pit with the foundations of old buildings, looking very much like an archaeological dig, down below.
Then the presentation began. The best way I could describe what followed is by likening it to a Cirque du Soleil show, except with no acrobats involved. Through our headphones we heard the cheerful voice of a woman who claimed to be “Montreal”, and she walked us through it’s (her) history, from before there was anything more than a few Iroquois long houses, to what we live in today. The visuals and audio were simply breathtaking, and I applaud the person(s) who put that show together. See the attached photos for some stills of what I saw.
After the 18 minute introduction was over, I was free to roam the museum. I went down into the archeological crypt, and was able to see how the exact plot of land I stood on changed over time. It was really like being down in a forgotten city, except it was in no way forgotten, and actually really well documented and researched! The exhibits were beautifully arranged, and there were a number interactive screens, headphones, and holes to peek into.
I even got to take a look at their Beatles in Montreal exhibit, which was EXTREMELY INTERESTING. It seems that the one and only time the Beatles came to play a show in Montreal, fans (especially young teenage girls) went absolutely crazy! Some of the first-hand accounts I read were unbelievable, with girls clawing at each other to get closer to the stage, and paramedics scouting the crowds.
The last thing I did was go up to the lookout on top of the main building of the museum. Fortunately for me the sun was shining brightly and I got some lovely shots of Old Port from a unique perspective! After exiting the museum, feeling full of new archeological and historical knowledge, I walked through the cobbled streets of Old Montreal with a greater appreciation of the ground beneath my feet.