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Audioguides Launched at Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum


Audioguides launched in the crypt of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel
(photo: Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum)

Several guests were gathered in the crypt of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel on Thursday September 12 for the launch of the audioguides of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel and Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum. These audioguides, which were put into operation in July, offer a new way to discover the museum and the chapel. A grant of $67,500.00 from Quebec's Ministry of Culture and Communication made this project possible.

Mr. Stéphane Chagnon, Director General of the museum and chapel emphasized the efforts made by all those persons who participated in this remarkable project. He admitted that at the beginning of this adventure he could not have imagined the amount of work required to create the audioguides: writing texts, renting a recording studio, shooting photographs and validating historical data. Putting together the various elements was also quite a challenge. Mr. Chagnon compared the assembly of each station to the making of a movie.

Sister Patricia Simpson
(photo: Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum)

Audioguides launched in the crypt
of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (photo: Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum)
Historian and writer, Sister Patricia Simpson, CND, who contributed to the writing and the historical validation, added that all those who participated in the audioguides project accomplished a “labour of love.” The listening stations are imbued with the contributor's love for Marguerite Bourgeoys, for the chapel and for the museum. According to Sister Simpson, many audioguide systems are not pleasant to listen to. Therefore, the team worked very hard to ensure that the museum's and chapel's audioguides provided a rich and pleasant listening experience. She hopes that the use of this tool, typical of our technological age, will enable the continuation of the work of those who came before and who wanted to make the chapel a place of peace and recollection. Sister Simpson closed by saying that she was happy that this launch was taking place on September 12, the feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

Ms. Marie Perrault, of Quebec's Ministry of Culture and Communication, stated that the audioguides will provide the visitor with an enriching and entertaining experience while highlighting heritage. Thanks to this innovative and structured project, visitors will be able to discover the life and times of Marguerite Bourgeoys, the Bonsecours neighbourhood as well as its architecture and works of art. Ms. Perrault added that listening to the audioguides enabled her to comprehend the participants' love for Marguerite Bourgeoys, the chapel and the museum.

In his address, Mr. Raymond Montpetit, chairman of the Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum Board of Directors, emphasized that it was important to communicate with the visitors. To this end, the audioguides will help them better appreciate the chapel and the life of Marguerite Bourgeoys. Audioguides are new interpretive media of which we must take full advantage. In addition, he stated that the rental of these devices will generate additional revenues which will contribute to the funding of museum activities.

The audioguides use Opus Click technology, a multimedia device combining sound and images on its LCD screen. Therefore, in addition to listening to the narration, the visitor has access to exclusive photos and images found neither in the museum nor in the chapel. For example, at the “Sisters and Travellers” listening station, a photograph of CND Sisters in Cameroon is displayed. Another listening station offers us lovely tones of the Casavant organ!
The Opus Click is used in many prestigious institutions, including the Palais des Papes in Avignon, the MoMA in New York City and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Marguerite- Bourgeoys Museum and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel are the first in Montreal to offer this experience. The chapel's audioguide tour includes fourteen listening stations while the museum's has eleven. Every station offers two types of presentation. There is a short one, which provides an overview of the subject matter while the second, a longer one, expands upon the topic in question. For example, the short presentation at station six of the chapel tour explains the connection between the chapel and the sailors as well as why there are ships hanging from the ceiling. The longer one provides details on the types of ships that are represented, their origins and the year they were offered to the chapel.

The chapel circuit lasts about 35 minutes (60 if one chooses to listen to the longer presentations) and the museum circuit lasts 30 minutes (45 minutes if one chooses to listen to the longer presentations). An “express” tour, designed for visitors with limited time, enables them to visit the chapel's must-see stations in 15 minutes.

The second tour, the one in the museum, invites the visitors to learn about the life of Marguerite Bourgeoys. The Bonsecours site and its surroundings are also highlighted through an original narrative enlivened with exclusive images, stories and first-hand accounts.

The French narration is by actress, Louise Proulx while the English is by June Wallack. We also recognize Sister Violaine Paradis, CND, who lends her voice to, among others, Marguerite Bourgeoys.

The months of work required to bring this project to fruition resulted in something remarkable and of the finest quality. Each listening station is extremely well designed and provides visitors with fascinating information on the chapel and the museum, on key historical figures, the life and times of Marguerite Bourgeoys and the history of Montreal. Relevant information has been put together and summarized expertly. Also, excellent narration injects energy into the texts and dividing the information into short and long presentations makes listening easy and enjoyable.

The quality of these audioguide tours will undoubtedly make the name and the mission of Marguerite Bourgeoys shine.


Promotional photo, Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum



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