High school students to discover Montreal Museum of Fine Arts using tablets
Thanks to the financial contribution of Ubisoft’s Montreal studio, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will now offer high school students the opportunity to discover its collection of Quebec and Canadian art through an interactive app called Quelle histoire! (What a story!).
Is it a risky gamble to give teens a tablet so they look up works on display? Not at all, the general director of the MMFA, Nathalie Bondil, said.
“I’m not necessarily for screens in museums, when they replace the works,” she explained in an interview. But when the screens allow you to better connect to the works, to better interact, to see better, then that’s great. ”
“To not open ourselves up to other modes of learning like this app would be a mistake,” said Bondil, in a press briefing Wednesday morning.
Thanks to the app, which is built like a quiz, students will have no choice but to watch, appreciate and analyze the works, she said.
“It leads the users to better look and sometimes to observe each work very finely and not to “zap” from one image to another,” Bondil explained.
“The real purpose of this app is to make sure we observe better.”
Sara Mannai and Amanda Filion, two students from Jacques-Rousseau High School, had only good words for the new tool. “When we go to a museum, we look at a work, then we continue. But with the app, we look longer, we think more, we spend more time studying the paintings,” Filion said.
A visit, lasting about an hour and a half, is done in groups of two on the six levels of the Claire and Marc Bourgie pavilion. Thirty tablets equipped with the app are available, but their number could increase if the program is a success.
For now, this new platform — the content of which is linked to the high-school curriculum — for the use of school groups, but could eventually be offered to families. Bondil also hopes that the application will be adapted to other collections of the museum.
The development of the educational tool was funded by video-game giant Ubisoft, but it did not design the app.
It’s a “natural” collaboration for Yannis Mallat, president and CEO of Ubisoft Montreal, Quebec, Saguenay and Toronto. “One of the components of our corporate mission is to prepare the future through education,” Mallat said.
The Montreal studio will offer 15,000 passes to Montreal families from disadvantaged backgrounds to allow them to discover the museum’s collections.
These two announcements combined — “a contribution from Ubisoft to the community on the occasion of Montreal’s 375th anniversary” — represent an investment of $180,000 over two years.
In 2016-2017, the MMFA welcomed nearly 56,000 Quebec students for school visits. With Quelle histoire!, the MMFA expects to reach about 100,000 students by 2020.