The life of René Lévesque under the magnifying glass at the Musée de la civilization

The life of René Lévesque under the magnifying glass at the Musée de la civilisation

The Musée de la civilization will present the exhibition René et Lévesque from Thursday until September 4, 2023. The very latest installation of the establishment allows the public to discover or identify more precisely one of the most significant figures in the history of Quebec.

It is within the framework of the Lévesque year, a commemoration initiative implemented by the René-Lévesque Foundation, that the exhibition is presented to the general public. Most of the pieces presented there come from the personal collection of the Lévesque family as well as from members of the public who have agreed to lend certain artefacts for the cause.

“The title reflects our desire to show the daily life of Mr. Lévesque with great proximity, notes the vice-president of the board of directors of the René-Lévesque Foundation, Martine Tremblay. There was the great politician everyone knows by name, but what about his personal life? What do we really know about this rambunctious, even inconvenient boy from the Bay of Chaleur and how is it that he became so important in the hearts and memories of Quebecers? »

Since childhood

The room featuring René and Lévesqueunfolds in chronological order. On entering, you arrive in front of a large podium where various everyday objects that belonged to “Ti-Poil” or his family are installed. This stall allows you to learn more about the hobbies and passions of the young man born into a bourgeois family of New Carlisle in Gaspésie.

The installation allows you to understand that Dominique Lévesque, his father, played a major role in his life. “His two parents were great readers and pushed him a lot to develop his curiosity through the writings of Jules Verne, for example,” says the exhibition's project manager, Coline Niess.

We also learn that the young Lévesque was not a model student, that he came close to being expelled from the Séminaire de Gaspé and the Collège Saint-Charles-Garnier de Québec on more than one occasion during his adolescence.

The life of René Lévesque under the magnifying glass at the Museum of Civilization

Photo: Vincent Desbiens/Métro

This little-known rebellious side of the former Premier of Quebec is highlighted under the second glass bell of the exhibition. Among other things, there are texts of plays and fictional stories. “Already at that time, we see that René Lévesque was endowed with great inventiveness, as shown by his very personal pen. He had a gift for writing and communication which oriented him towards journalism and then politics,” she continues.

The following two sections summarize the most significant moments of his professional life. There are various artifacts such as a letter sent to his family from London in 1945, when he had joined the Allies to participate in the propaganda effort. The mementos of his more than noticed passage in politics, such as election posters, a period ballot or the placemat signed by all those who left the Liberal Party of Quebec to found the Parti Quebecois are also exposed in this part. of the visit.

What if…

To conclude René and Lévesque, the team responsible for the interactive and educational component of the Musée de la civilization is amused to imagine what Quebec would have become without the initiatives of the government of René Lévesque.

“We bet on the humorous and light side to imagine an alternative reality where, for example, political parties would be presented by sponsors if the law on the financing of political parties had never been passed, explains the educational project manager Anne-Josée Lacombe. It's a fun little bonus that also allows you to see what René Lévesque changed in Quebec and the impact his time had on society.”

The René and Lévesque will be presented from November 17, 2022 to September 4, 2023, as part of the Lévesque Year. For more information, visit the Musée de la civilisation's website.

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