The new exhibition at Québec City’s Musée de la civilisation — Vox Populi — invites visitors to question and ponder democracy while exploring its importance in the development of our societies. This exhibition is presented by Le Directeur général des élections du Québec in cooperation with Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, and runs until April 8, 2007, after which it will embark on a province-wide tour in which a number of museums have already shown strong interest.
Big ideas, big questions
What do we know about democracy? Can we pledge to protect it? Democracy has not been achieved without a fight nor maintained without constant vigilance. And it can only be achieved—and nourished—through the efforts of proud citizens who firmly believe in their rights.
Between reality and the ideal
The exhibition Vox Populi deals with the encounter between democratic reality and the ideal throughout history and in day-to-day life. Divided into three thematic areas, the exhibition begins by taking visitors back to the origins of democracy as a political system. It then explores the democratic vernacular and the supreme manifestation of equality of the people — the right to vote. It concludes by showing that our democratic environment is a patchwork of various influences and that lofty ideals remain central to the development of our societies.
Sounds and images…
Through the lyrics of their songs, Gilles Vigneault, Les Cowboys Fringants, Corneille, and Richard Desjardins evoke various aspects of democracy. It is their words that are used to present the exhibition. Very moving video documents brilliantly produced by Vidéo Femmes deal with pertinent topics. The first presents the major battles fought in the name of freedom, equality, and justice. The second focuses on the ability citizens do or do not have to elect their governments both here and elsewhere in the world. The third reveals the fine line that exists between democracy and globalization in the context of this millenium’s major challenges. The last presents the Québec National Assembly as a place where the democratic voice is free to express itself. At the end of the exhibition, young director Émile Proulx-Cloutier takes a look at democracy today as well as the democracy our children will inherit in an audiovisual document entitled Letter to my great great great grandchild.
The exhibition also features artifacts that bear witness to the great moments in the history of democracy. Busts of figures from Antiquity, such as Demosthenes and Socrates, and objects that evoke the birth of modern democracy, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, works by thinkers like Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Tocqueville, as well as the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, demonstrate the efforts that have helped emancipate our democratic societies. Other milestones are presented in the form of art and objects that illustrate the numerous and incessant battles for democracy. The works of artist Dominique Blain in particular provide food for thought on the great number of citizens around the world whose rights have been abused. Two multimedia games help develop and sharpen visitors’ critical thinking with regard to democracy and are also available (in french only) on the Museum’s website at the following addresses:
Musée de la Civilisation's website : www.mcq.org/index_en.html
Source : Serge Poulin, Musée de la Civilisation