Founded in 1980 and incorporated in 1982, the Écomusée du fier monde is a Montréal working class and industrial history museum that promotes grassroots involvement. Recognized and supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec and by the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Écomusée emphasizes the history and heritage of the Centre-Sud in Montréal. As a microcosm of the Industrial Revolution in Québec in the second half of the 19th century, this neighbourhood witnessed firsthand the impact of industry on labour as well as on the living conditions of working class families.
The Écomusée du fier monde develops its museum practice based on popular education and establishes participatory projects in close collaboration with the neighbourhood’s citizens, institutions and organizations. Furthermore, it is engaged in the issues that concern present and future development of its surroundings.
To learn more about the Écomusée du fier monde:
- Giroux, Éric (2016). The Public in Museums: Visitors or Citizens Partners?. THÉMA. La revue des Musées de la civilisation 4:109-124.
- Binette, René (2009). La contribution des institutions muséales au « capital social » : cas de l’Écomusée du fier monde (Montréal, Canada). Dans Iñaki Arrieta Urtizberea (éd.) Activaciones patrimoniales e iniciativas museísticas ¿Por quién? Y ¿para quién?. (p. 129-150). Bilbao : Euskal Herriko Unibertsitateko Argitalpen Zerbitzua et Servicio Editorial de la Universidad del País Vasco.
- to emphasize themes of labour and community engagement (engagement citoyen) in Montréal, in their historical and contemporary contexts;
- to develop a lasting community based museology (muséologie citoyenne) by using museum activities as tools toward popular education and empowerment;
- to contribute to the development of our ecomuseum territory by emphasizing its heritage and culture in collaboration with local actors;
- to share our expertise and communicate with others at local, national, and international levels, and thereby contribute to the development of communities.
The values that guide the Écomusée:
Committed to enhancing the value of the territory, the community and society
The Écomusée du fier monde is inspired by the Round Table of Santiago de Chile (1972) [OM1] and the ecomuseum philosophy, developed by Hugues de Varine, among others. The Écomusée adheres to Mr. de Varine’s definition: “An ecomuseum is first and foremost a community and an objective: development of that community.”
This results in a specific museum focus based on:
- Educating the public via a learning process that is based on the collective knowledge of all people and aimed at raising awareness and prompting reflection, in the hopes of bringing about social change;
- Cultural democracy, based on equality between people and different groups in society and on valuing the expertise and knowledge of these groups, especially those that are poorly represented in museums (or who have little say);
- People, who are central to the Écomusée’s focus, well above objects, with particular attention to marginalized groups;
- The ties that the institution forges with its community and developing respectful and equal partnerships as defined in a policy to this effect;
- Supporting individuals and organizations that want to play a role in advancing society; and
- Excellence that the institution aims for in all its endeavors and rigorous processes that lead to their completion.
More than a building, the Écomusée is a tool for citizens. It allows visitors to uncover a territory, to address social issues and to foster discussion. The Écomusée considers each person who visits the museum an active participant in the city and a potential concerned citizen.