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Archives & Museum Informatics



Museums & Millennium

Hélène Bernier, Musée de la civilisation of Quebec City, Canada
Katy Tari, Musée Média, Canada

Session: Demo Session 1

The Museums & the Millennium challenge was launched in the fall of 1997 by Quebec City's Musée de la civilisation and the Parc de la Villette in Paris. The project involves the formation of a network of collaborating museums that could lead to the exchange of expertise and products as well as joint explorations of various subjects. The first "incarnation" of the network will be an Internet site based on the challenges facing humanity at the dawn of the new millennium. This will be the first collective creation offered by museums on a planetary scale. This virtual exercise on the Web will also have very real repercussions: a traveling exhibition inspired by the Internet site, exchanges of speakers, cultural activities, symposia, etc. The virtually assembled "millennium collection" will be immortalized in a publication (book, CD-ROM or other).

Museums & the Millennium is more than an exhibition; it is an opportunity for international and intercultural communication, a dialogue between museums - sites for preserving and interpreting knowledge. They will be joining in the search for answers to some fundamental questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Finally, it is the imprint of museums at the end of the millennium, a period of globalization, exponential development of new technologies and transformation of relations between societies. The Museums & the Millennium project will give citizens of various communities a chance to understand the ties that unite them to their local institutions and, by extension, to the entire planet.

Museums & the Millennium, a virtual exploration of humanity, is the collective creation of museums around the world.

For this virtual exhibit, collaborating museums provided a panoply of visions of human life, both past and future, including "The Global Garden" (Parc de la Villette, France), an exploration of the relationship between man and the environment; "Grand Illusions" (Museum Of Natural History, Neuchâtel, Switzerland), a meditation on erroneous human perceptions of life and death; "Feasts and Festivals" (National Museum of Folk Art, Italy), a celebration of the celebrations that are common to various cultures; "The Quest for Knowledge", an appropriate theme for the Cité des sciences (France); "Strangers – Images of the Other" (Deutsches Hygiene – Museum, Germany) an examination of our behaviour when confronted with the unfamiliar; and "Ageing" (Boston Museum of Science, United States), as seen through the eyes of people with first-hand experience.

These are just a few examples from the virtual visions that Museums & the Millennium (working title) will be offering. We are counting on all of you to join in this exploration.

A prototype, Metissage, is already online. This virtual exhibition developed by the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City is one of the 12 themes of Museums & the Millennium.

It can be seen at :

It runs with Flash 4 plug-in.

Museums & the Millennium virtual exhibition will be launched on May 2nd, 2000.