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(2015 - Fall Issue)


The easiest way to see today, what was here yesterday, is to go to a museum

Our vacations are in the here and now, however some of the most popular destinations have also been a magnet for humankind since earlier civilizations. So imagine standing on the very soil where ancient objects were once used, valued or dug up to be painstakingly assembled, polished and protected for you and future generations to admire.

And so it is with art. While many art museums feature collections from a full range of international masters, some galleries display local scenes often painted by a famous town resident. So once you step back outside again, it becomes so much easier to envision how the landscape actually appeared to dwellers in centuries gone by.

Sometimes we needn’t travel at all. You may find a benefactor has opened a museum to display his or her fascinating collection right in your community. Wherever you may be this fall and winter, here are some of the most recent openings in Canada, the United States and Europe.


A virtual journey into the night sky is now on offer at Montréal’s mega-attraction, Space for Life. On any given day, in one location, four completely different natural science experiences beckon you to the Biodome with its thousands of species of animals and plants; the Insectarium to learn about the surprising behaviour and adaptations of bugs; the Botanical Gardens to take in its flourishing flora and entertainment year-round; and, now, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium where your imagination will skyrocket far beyond planet Earth. From October through November 8, attend the Dark Universe show, a double-feature of exploration, which includes a focus on Pluto as revealed by the New Horizons probe. espacepourlavie.ca   


A grand welcome hall at the Aga Khan Museum, located at 77 Wynford Drive, leads visitors inside to witness the enormity of cultural, artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions by Muslim civilizations since the beginning of modern history. As one of Toronto’s newest museums, this house is filled with a permanent collection of more than 1,000 objects accumulated over 10 centuries from Spain to China. Such treasures include portraits, textiles, miniatures, manuscripts, ceramics, tiles, medical texts, books and musical instruments. This bridge to mutual understanding is based in a city recognized for embracing diversity, and Toronto joins several cities of the world where the Aga Khan collections have attracted countless admirers. Until October 18, see the exhibit Thirst for Riches: Carpets from the East in Paintings from the West. agakhanmuseum.org


The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is the first solely dedicated to the plight, evolution and future of human rights. It’s also the first national museum created in Canada since 1967 and Winnipeg is the proud host. As stories unfold through various interactive exhibits, visitors learn to appreciate how far some countries have progressed with the guarantee of rights and freedoms and how much perseverance is still required under other regimes to achieve similar goals. The experience is intended to inspire reflection, dialogue and respect for others, but it is not just for bystanders. CMHR, officials say, supplies the tools for everyone to make a quality difference in the lives of others. It is an education hub for tomorrow’s leadership. If you are an educator, the museum is holding an Open House this fall on October 23 and 24. humanrights.ca


Visitors to Austin, Texas, interested in touring the Austin Museum of Digital Art (AMODA) are advised to visit its website first. This is what they call a “museum without walls” and, for now, the website is home base. Since its inception, AMODA has held at least 80 digital showcases in various Austin locations and many were in collaboration with other arts and educational organizations. This initiative defines its genre as “art that uses digital technology in any of three ways: as the product, as the process or as the subject.” In performance art, for example, AMODA recently joined a Nerd Nite Austin event where digital buffs saw how a popular music band combined dance, video projections and electronic music to dazzle its audience. This fall, we’re all invited to take part in The Wide InterConsciousness. amoda.org


In tribute “to the peoples of the world,” this renowned city has added the Museum of Cultures to its scene with a focus on “the extraordinary relationships” between them all. Permanent exhibits feature artifacts donated by missionaries, explorers, scholars and collectors, as well as items  from the spoils of war and colonialism. Disused factories were transformed into a building now clad in an eyeful of brilliant zinc and crystal shapes, all of which shimmer with light day and night. Inside, a large covered central piazza hosts the permanent collections, while salons showcase visiting exhibits. There’s also a theatre for live performances. From October to February, enjoy a Polynesian exhibit, Gauguin: Tales from Paradise. mudec.it


Admirers of the Louis Vuitton brand now can spend as many hours as they like immersed in some of the treasures that inspired the epic fashion house. Opened late last year, 160 years after the world first heard of Louis Vuitton, patrons of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris are invited to “experience emotion and contemplation” beginning with its grand display of contemporary art. Museum officials say they hope for a “virtuous circle of creativity,” whereby the museum not only pays tribute to masters past and present, but is also an inspiration to tomorrow’s artists. This fall through February 16, 2016, visit the Frank Gehry exhibit, an intimate look “at the developmental genesis” of the beautiful building in which you will be standing. fondationlouisvuitton.fr

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