Sharing the Meal! A Tasty Tour of our Food Heritage
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Sharing the Meal! A Tasty Tour of our Food Heritage

September 20, 2013

Sharing the Meal! 
A Tasty Tour of our Food Heritage 

Québec City, September 20, 2013 - Musée de la civilisation is proud to announce the opening today of Sharing the Meal!, a fascinating participatory virtual exhibition offering a new way of looking at Québec’s food heritage. To experience it, go to www.mcq.org/mangerensemble. Sharing the Meal! was developed in partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Virtual Museum of Canada - virtualmuseum.ca and produced jointly with Université Laval’s Canada Research Chair in Heritage and Idéeclic,. 

“Our Government is proud to invest and establish fruitful partnerships in projects that provide all Canadians with access to our history,” said the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “As Canada’s 150th birthday gets closer, we want to help Canadians across the country get better acquainted with their rich heritage.” 

Sharing the Meal! wants to know what you have on your plate—literally—and what your neighbors have on theirs as well, for a look at foods, recipes, local specialties, and customs. From Lac Saint Jean tourtière to takeout sushi, First Nations influences, and the contributions of recent immigrants, it’s a delicious dive into our food heritage and who we are. 

“For 25 years now, the Museum has been a conduit for culture and with its wealth of exhibitions and activities,” said Les Musées de la civilisation Executive Director Michel Côté. “What is less well known, though just as important, is that the Museum is very present and active in cyberspace as well. It’s all part of our tireless efforts to reach beyond the confines of traditional museum practice. Over the years, we’ve created a whole series of websites to go with our exhibitions along with special virtual exhibitions and games. Cyberspace is ideal for so many aspects of our intangible heritage, as this exhibition shows.” 

A Diverse and Hybrid Food Heritage
Sharing the Meal! explores how our cuisine and eating habits have evolved across time and space, and is organized into themes featuring some 70 pieces from Les Musées de la civilisation’s extensive collection. The variety of food heritage, both regional and ethnic, comes out in dozens of interviews and the testimony of Canadian families of many different backgrounds (French Canadian, African, French, Portuguese, Moroccan, Chinese, British, Innu, and others). Experts from various fields talk about how food heritage is built out of foods and recipes handed down from generation to generation and spiced with borrowings from other cultures. They also explain how food heritage helps strengthen people’s sense of belonging to a group or territory. 

“The great thing about this exhibition is its ability to show how we take the best-loved dishes and practices from our food repertoire and adopt them as part of our heritage, which contributes to the construction of family, social, and cultural identities,” said Dr. Laurier Turgeon, Canada Research Chair in Ethnological Heritage. “And this heritage is not merely put on display, it is situated within the process of turning food and eating into heritage. We call this heritagization—the transmission over time of tangible and intangible parts of our lives, which in time become anchored in a place.” 

Sharing the Meal! presents both tangible (cooking utensils, food), and intangible (recipes, knowledge, table manners) elements of this heritage while deploying a broad range of media (2D photography, video, 360 degree video) on an extremely dynamic interactive website. It invites Quebecers and everyone else to share their food heritage by relating their experiences and sharing their images. 

Alongside the exhibition is an educational program to help elementary and secondary school teachers start the conversation with young people and guide them as they explore their own food heritage. 

The government of Canada contributed $347,700 to this project through Virtual Museum of Canada/virtualmuseum.ca’s investment program. The exhibition was produced jointly with Université Laval and Idéeclic with the assistance of experts from a variety of fields, including Dr. Laurier Turgeon, Canada Research Chair in Ethnological Heritage at Université Laval; Catherine Ferland, author and historian at the Encyclopedia of French Culture in North America; Claude Fischler, a sociologist at Centre national français de recherche scientifique (CNRS Paris); Nicolle Anne Gagnon, chef and instructor at Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec; and Hélène Raymond, author and Radio-Canada journalist. 

Sharing the Meal!, a participatory virtual exhibition, starts today. Experience it at www.mcq.org/mangerensemble

Media relations:Québec City: Serge Poulin, 418-529-2072, spoulin@mcq.org
Montréal: Rosemonde Gingras, 514-458-8355, rosemonde@rosemondecommunications.com

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