Guides at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts respond to the pandemic!

MMFA article July 2021 
Louise Gauvreau and Louise Émond, Guides, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

As the pandemic halted many museum activities earlier this year, MMFA Guides continued, through Zoom, their weekly onsite training and workshops for their nearly 200 active Guides. For the past few years the Guides have used a dialogical approach, or open-ended questions, to encourage visitors to interact with guides about the art. Research shows that we retain more information when we are actively involved in an activity.

With the reopening of the MMFA in June 2020, in collaboration with the Education Department, new ideas around guided visits were formulated: a) online registration for the exterior Sculpture Garden visits, b) optimizing the current exhibition using web support, and c) new online virtual visits. Today, in person and digital audience engagement programs continue to keep Guides active and involved:

  1. During the summer of 2021 the MMFA is reintroducing its 60 minutes outdoor tour of 22 sculptures called “Let’s talk Sculpture!” and will introduce ‘’Let’s Talk Architecture!’’ Also, on  Avenue du Musée, a pedestrian street will be installed again this summer with the stunning La Dérive, from the Collectif Incognito.  
  2. Until Sept 2021, socially distanced and timed entry for in person visits, features the current exhibition, Jean-Paul Riopelle, The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Culture. The famous Abstract Expressionist  will soon come alive with the upcoming Prism Project where MMFA Guides working with the Museum’s Education Department will upgrade the virtual tour experience with a ‘live online’ Guide.
  3. Our 30 minutes midday conversations online tours, offered to members through online registration, feature one guide speaking about three MMFA treasures. The tours were held during the lunch hour four times a week through May 2021. These online tours of the International Contemporary Art Collection are also planned for the fall.

MFFA Guides train, evolve, keep in touch and stay motivated!

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