Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Adventures: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Decorative Art and Design Wing)

You will notice we missed this post last week. That's because we didn't do it. I got lost heading to a park on the other side of the Mountain (not really a mountain for those of you on the West Coast, but its still called "the mountain" in Montreal) and got a parking ticket all in one day on Tuesday, so I decided that was our excursion for last week - I didn't have it in me to do a second one.

So, this week, on the only cool-ish day (as in not over 40 degrees celcius with the humidity) of the week, we ventured to the MMFA. I love this museum because it is free, they have a bunch of varied permanent collections and lots of visiting exhibits. The visiting exhibits usually cost money, but if there is something cool we can go and pay for that and just see it without feeling bad.

Here we are after getting off a hot bus with a toddler who I foolishly took off my back. He then did not understand why he couldn't walk around the bus and screamed for half the trip. I'm sure everyone was happy to get us off the bus.

Once we had all had a sit and a drink, we went into the gallery and promptly got lost. There is only one entrance to the three (four?) buildings that make up the Museum. They are connected by tunnels, but there are two sets of staircases leading down from the main floor. One goes to the tunnels - the other, of course, does not. We took the wrong stairs. Here is a picture from those stairs to the stairs we should have taken.
This main entrance building has a fun Modern design, although the steps are a bit of an adventure - they are half as deep and twice as wide as normal stairs. Its hard to decide how to walk down them - take two at a time with extra big steps, or one at a time with really tiny steps. Ah, Modernism, do we really need to think this much about steps?
We opted to briefly visit the Contemporary collection and then move on to the Decorative Art and Design Wing. I thought it would be fun for the kids to look at real objects, and it proved to be a big hit. They had fun looking at all the crazy designer furniture and objects. Among our favorites was this nest couch:
A set of dining plates covered in etiquitte instructions that were very clever was my favorite item. The boys also liked a display of miniature guns, and the anthropomorphized people - furniture.

We then decided to go to the sculpture garden, because everyone was getting restless and I didn't want to cause mayhem and get us escorted out by security. After once more getting lost, we finally found it. They have this fun art piece blocking the street that goes between the other two buildings of the Museum right now. These are temporary road markers that sort of look like a field of poppies in the middle of the city.

Right around the corner there is some more public art and sitting space, including that crazy yellow installation that is part of an exhibition we didn't go and see. I'll get to that in a moment, after
a gratuitous shot of my adorable children.
I must say, when you go traipsing through Montreal with these four active, adorable blue eyed children you get comments. A LOT of comments. Montrealers are not shy about telling you what they think, and people regularly stop to talk to us. I don't know how many times I hear - "You are a brave woman!" or (presumably from lapsed Catholics) "Four children? Bless you." One day, if anyone is interested, I'll do a post about how to do urban trekking with four small children.

Okay, so onto this. This is made entirely of blown glass by an artist named Chihuly.
It is over 10 feet tall and really stunning. We thought it was made of balloons at first, and the kids were fascinated by it. I might take them to this exhibit if I can enlist Dave's help. It looks pretty stunning. Or I might sneak off myself to see it.

After the art gallery, it was necessary to refuel. We got some takeout - fries and a Pop Shoppe pop (eek!) and Gyoza. The carrots, as well as some grapes and goldfish, we had brought with us. All the kids tried the Gyoza, and a few even liked them. I was pretty happy no one loved them, because that meant that I got to eat most of them.

Then we headed down the street to the subway, past one of my favorite buildings. This building is part of Concordia Univserity campus. I love that it looks just like a quilt. My kids roll my eyes when I say this, but I still think its a pretty fun building.
So that was our adventure for this week. What summer fun have you been up to?


  1. Do you tie them all together so as not to lose any? ;)

  2. Gettin lost on hose stairs and tunnels was probably the best part for the kids! You are one cool mom. Have you tried he contemporary art museum? I don t know about fridays but on sundays they have free art activities for the kids. Usually related to a current exhibit.

  3. Ha! I love your comment about comments taking 4 children around. I usually get, "3? You're busy!" and then I joke about how the 4th is the dog. Actually we had a woman in Halifax last week who was beaming at our kids, it turns out she had 13. I couldn't imagine 13! Love the pictures of you and your family Jill.