Thursday, September 9, 2010

Biosphere Environment Museum

I've wanted to visit the Biosphere for a while. As a symbol of Expo 67 its a uniquely Montreal structure on Ile St. Helene. I went with my friend and her fiancé, figuring that I like museums and he likes science so perhaps it would be a good bonding activity. Unfortunately, after convincing them to join me, the experience was largely a letdown. I say that because the museum is geared only towards families. With the exception of a very interesting movie about the building's architect Buckminster Fuller there is little for an adult crowd, something I wish I knew before I went.

They claim to have exhibits and activities for everyone, which I think is a bit of a stretch. The exhibits are made for children in that they are created around games and age-appropriate learning activities. For example, you ride a bicycle to learn about how energy can be generated. The exhibits are designed from a child-friendly standpoint, so much so that we initially thought one of the rooms was a daycare rather than an exhibit. There is a lot for kids to see and do, and the space is great for a fun family outing. However, it was certainly frustrating to arrive with friends, and pay the entrance fee, only to find that there's little adult appropriate content. While a close reading of the exhibit information on the museum's website insinuates the family-focus, it should be better advertised.

While it's wonderful to have solid family offerings, I'm starting to notice a gap in Montreal's museums. There are a ton of staid historical museums and family friendly exhibition centres, but little in the way of current, engaging, adult programming. Places that cater to families, school trips and tourists are important but to truly have a relevant cultural scene, shouldn't Montreal have more institutions to engage and challenge intelligent adults? We need more places such as DHC/ART please.

21 down. 11 to go.

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