Three large-scale Montreal exhibitions explore human bodies, pirates and outer space this holiday season
Human beings have always searched out and pushed through to what we believe to be, to quote the introduction to the Star Trek TV series, the "final frontier."
Hundreds of years ago it was all about conquering the Earth’s oceans. With the rise of empire came the scourge of the seas, the pirate, the subject of Pointe-à-Callière’s terrific exposition Pirates, Privateers and Freebooters. Visitors board the Pointe-à-Corsair, an exact life-size replica of a 16th-century pirate ship, filled with over 160 fascinating objects – swords, guns, cannons, treasures chests, gold coins – from the wild world of 16th- to-19th-century piracy. We also get a glimpse into the lives of the most famous pirate of all, Blackbeard, and Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, a pirate born in Montreal in 1661 who would go on to destroy 36 English settlements.
Over at the McCord Museum, another highly entertaining exhibit, eSpace, celebrates the 40th anniversary of man’s first steps on the moon. The exhibit is split into three major themes: Exploration, The Real and The Imaginary, and its pièce-de-résistance comes in the form of an actual spacesuit used by a real-life Soviet cosmonaut. The eSpace experience is very much in keeping with what Canadian astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar once told me: "To see the Earth with nothing around it is to see how dependent we are on the resources of our planet. We must protect it."
While eSpace explores outer space, Bodies…The Exhibition: The Science Inside You explores inner space – the human body. Curated by the famed Dr. Roy Glover, the exhibit is based on the same plastination technology developed by Dr. Gunther Von Hagens. But while Von Hagens’ Body World exhibits lean toward the artistic and sensational, Glover’s is more low-key and educational, though the sections on fetuses and human arteries are particularly mind-blowing.
Bodies…The Exhibition: The Science Inside You
Montreal Exhibition Centre (Eaton Centre, 705 Ste-Catherine W., 5th floor), to Feb. 14
Pirates, Privateers and Freebooters
At Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History (350 Place Royale), to Jan. 10
At the McCord Museum (690 Sherbrooke W.), to Jan.10