Out & About

December 19, 2013

Vintage toys, everyday people among Montreal offerings

McCord, Stewart begin museum merger

MONTREAL — Vintage toys and unique photos take center space at the McCord Museum.

First up — and most appropriate for the holiday season — “Toys” provides an interactive exhibition for the young — and young at heart. Designed for children aged 3 to 9, this year’s fourth edition features a collection of vintage space-themed toys dubbed “Mission Cosmos,” where visitors can help a scientist find his way back home.

Youngsters are invited to crack a secret code that also aims to rescue the stranded Professor Copernoc. Along the way there are plenty of colorful clues as well as some cool nostalgic toy memorabilia. Of note: classic Star Trek figurines, an Apollo 11 lunar module replica kit from 1969, and a 1960s Mattel Thingmaker, a small tabletop device that let kids (like myself way back when) create a bevy of scary bugs out of heated soft molded plastic. I must say it brought back some great memories — my brother and I used to hide the bugs in our pants pockets and wait for our grandmother to do the laundry.

“Toys” continues through April 6.

Next is “Claire Beaugrand-Champagne: Touching Reality,” an exhibition of some 200 mostly black and white poignant photographs taken by Beaugrand-Champagne from 1970 to this year. Beaugrand-Champagne is considered the first female press photographer in Quebec and her documentary photography-style subjects include portraits of individuals in their living and work environments.

“Her photo essays, which paint an eloquent portrait of Quebec society, find the extraordinary in everyday life and remind us that each individual is unique and every life is worth recounting,” a press release states. “Touching Reality” continues through April 13.

More photos, this time with a view from above, get interpreted in “Plotting from Above — Mishka Henner and Montreal Aerial Survey.”

In collaboration with the 13th edition of Mois de la Photo a Montreal, an annual photo contest open to the general public, “Plotting from Above” offers a collection of vintage 1970s-era drone-style aerial photos of Montreal taken long before Google Maps ever came about. The exhibit then showcases aerial shots turned digital art with works by British artist Mishka Henner, who used Google Earth and digital publishing techniques to create a new geometric way of looking at the Dutch coastline.

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