The Museum at a Glance
Founded in 1860 as the Art Association of Montreal by a group of Montreal art collectors and patrons, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) was one of the first museums in North America to build up an encyclopedic collection worthy of the name. It now numbers over 41,000 works from Antiquity to today, making it unique in Canada. It comprises paintings, sculptures, graphic arts, photographs and decorative art objects displayed in four pavilions: the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion (international art), the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion (world cultures), the Liliane and David M. Stewart Pavilion (decorative arts and design) and the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion (Quebec and Canadian art). The latter, which was inaugurated in September 2011, includes a 444-seat concert hall – Bourgie Hall – featuring an important group of Tiffany stained glass windows.
A fifth wing, the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace devoted to international art and education, will open in late 2016 to launch Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations.
2014: NEW RECORDS
Fiscal 2013-2014 was indeed a record-breaking year for the Museum. The growth it has experienced in recent years continues unabated, and several records have been broken. But none of this would be possible, especially in the current climate of economic uncertainty, without our staff and volunteers, partners and audiences, and above all, our members, who continue to rally behind their museum in large numbers. First and foremost, we applaud this collective commitment: we can never thank you enough!
“Canada’s star museum… attracted 1,015,022 visitors in 2013.” – National Post, Toronto
“Canada’s biggest winner of 2013 was Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts. It attracted 1,015,022 visitors, becoming Canada’s only member of the millionvisitors club… But what’s especially impressive about the Montreal museum is its record of not merely importing popular exhibits but also initiating, producing and exporting The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier and Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon. As a result, thousands of art lovers in Stockholm, New York and Seattle saw shows that originated in Montreal, boosting both the museum’s international reputation and its balance sheets.” – The Toronto Star
“Among the 100 most-visited museums in the world.” – The Art Newspaper, London
A Meeting Place For The Arts, A Unifying Institution
The MMFA welcomes over 200,000 families, schoolchildren and adults every year to take part in its educational, cultural and community programmes. This involvement in the community is made possible thanks to the new Studios Art & Education Michel de la Chenelière. Opened in 2012, these facilities have doubled the space devoted to schools, families and community groups.
Over the years, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has established many successful multidisciplinary partnerships. In 2008, the Arte Musica Foundation took up residence at the Museum; it offers a full programme of music in the Bourgie Concert Hall. A few years later, in 2014, FIFA (the International Festival of Films on Art) also took up permanent residence at the Museum and now integrates its films into the MMFA’s varied programme of activities.
The Museum’s desire to combine the visual arts with music is embodied in such innovative exhibitions – unique in Canada – as Warhol Live: Music and Dance in Andy Warhol’s Work, Imagine: The Peace Ballad of John & Yoko, We Want Miles: Miles Davis vs. Jazz, Lyonel Feininger and Splendore a Venezia: Art and Music from the Renaissance to Baroque in the Serenissima. These exhibitions featured various audio components, such as soundscapes, ambient music and listening stations. Several new educational programmes and activities were also created: pre-concert tours, lectures and films about music, concerts for school groups and families as well as musical audioguides related to our collection of European art.
Faithful to its vocation to acquire and promote works by artists of yesterday and today, local and international, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts also has a mission to reach out to the widest and most diverse public possible and to provide full access to the world’s artistic heritage.
The Museum has also stated its intention to bolster its already rich programme of educational activities by fostering mental and spiritual growth. In a world in which people are manipulated by the tyranny of images, the role of museums is more important than ever in developing critical perception and learning “how-to-be” rather than merely “how-to-do.” A growing number of studies demonstrate the extent to which access to culture increases chances of success, reduces school dropout rates and improves individual well-being every bit as much as sports do.
For almost fifteen years, the MMFA has been offering the Sharing the Museum programme, which provides a free educational experience to community organizations working with people who would not otherwise be able to visit the Museum. More precisely, these partner organizations work with cultural communities, senior citizens, youth at risk, residents of underprivileged neighbourhoods, low-income families and people with physical or intellectual disabilities.
The important educational mission undertaken by the Museum now includes the creation of programmes for first-time visitors in order to make art accessible to everyone. In keeping with this mission, young people, cultural communities, senior citizens and other community groups will soon be invited to take part in specially designed innovative projects.