Publications of Musée de la civilisation

Discover our publications: insightful texts written by renowned authors, interspersed with accounts by experts in the field, and accompanied by an abundant selection of exclusive pictures. Our books and other publications are widely read and much appreciated. They are a reflection of our exhibitions, our collections, and our knowledge.


Egyptian Magic


With its architectural and artistic achievements, funeral rites and mythology, Egypt has remained a source of fascination throughout the ages. Magic regulated the lives of the ancient Egyptians, from the humblest among them to the Pharaoh himself. They believed that books of magic held the key to understanding the Universe, that the gods had used them to create the world, and that they had offered these magical powers to humans to bolster their existence. Let yourself be enchanted by Magical Egypt.

Egyptian Magic. Québec City, Beaux-arts-Éditions / Musée de la civilisation, 2015, 66 p. — $19.95

Zeus, Aphrodite, Poseidon, Dionysus… The history and exploits of these mythic gods are deeply rooted in Western civilisation. Tales such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and the rites of Ancient Greece have captured the imagination of our societies, still today leaving their mark on literature, movies, sports, languages and the arts. Like mirrors of the human soul, the Greek and Roman gods have complex relationships, with each deity having a specific role to play. In addition to interacting with each other, these gods and goddesses maintain rather special relationships with mortals, even while ruling over the religious world.

The book Masters of Olympus. Treasures from the Greco-Roman Collections of Berlin, based on the exhibition of the same name held in 2014-2015 at the Musée de la civilisation in Québec City, features and contextualizes works and objects from the Collection of Classical Antiquities of the National Museums in Berlin. These magnificent marble and bronze sculptures and ceramic artifacts reveal the gods who dominate Olympus, as they were conceived and represented by artists from Ancient Greece and Rome. This epic journey into the heart of mythology also includes a detour into the sanctuaries dedicated to the "Masters" of Olympus and a glimpse of the rituals devoted to them. Prepare for an unforgettable voyage to the very bedrock of Western civilisation!

Masters of Olympus. Treasures from the Greco-Roman Collections of Berlin. Beaux-Arts éditions, 116 p. — $24,95

Pierre Gauvreau shaped Québec's cultural landscape and the history of the 20th century through his multifaceted creations and through the ideas, convictions, and worldview he vigorously poured into any creative endeavor. He was a signatory to Le Refus global, an avant-garde painter, a producer of such TV shows as Pépinot et CapucineD'Iberville, and Rue de l'anse, an author of TV series Le temps d'une paixCormoran, and Le volcan tranquille, which influenced several generations, and a passionate gardener. Pierre Gauvreau was driven by an insatiable thirst for the freedom to be, to say, to think, and to create, and this freedom pushed him to explore ever further. This profound conviction would motivate him throughout his entire existence. He thus became a pathfinder—an emissary of modernity.

Pierre Gauvreau, passeur de modernité has no pretentions of being an anthology or a retrospective. Its aim is simply to describe the life and considerable output of this multifaceted creator, who remains poorly known in many ways. This book perfectly complements the Musée de la civilisation exhibition, Pierre Gauvreau. I Was Hoping to See You Here, being a parallel and magnificently illustrated creation that presents intersecting narratives by around twenty people who knew the artist and his work, including accounts by Janine Carreau, Ray Ellenwood, Jeanette Biondi, Gilles Lapointe, and Charles Binamé. It adds an indispensable page to the social and artistic history of contemporary Québec.

Purchase this publication at gift shop of the Musée de la civilisation. 

Pierre Gauvreau, passeur de modernité. By Hélène Dionne and others, Groupe Fides, 256 p. — $49.95

Les Halles, the wide boulevards... the circus, the cinema, the theatre, the art shows, the gardens, the world fairs... Le Chat Noir, Le Moulin Rouge... the Lumière brothers, Sarah Bernhardt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rodin... so many people, so many places, and so many things that evoke the swirling effervescence of Paris during the Belle Époque, a city of art, pleasure, and entertainment! A special issue of Éditions Beaux Arts has now been released as a companion piece to the exhibition Paris on Stage 1889-1914, which Musée de la civilisation presented in 2013-2014. It is rich in captivating texts and magnificent illustrations, giving you a chance to explore more deeply this dream age of art and technical innovation.

In three chapters about the Belle Époque, show business, and the world fair, this publication paints an impressive picture of that day and age, with the emergence of mass culture and the birth of a new culture that combined recreation, popular entertainment, and consumerism. These themes are covered by leading historians, museum curators, and journalists, and fleshed out with illustrations and photographs of key items from the world of show business, cinema, theatre, carnivals, and world fairs, as well as pictures of remarkable works of art.

Dive into the cultural excitement of Paris during the Belle Époque by purchasing a copy at gift shop of the Musée de la civilisation. 

Paris en scène. 1889-1914. Éditions Beaux Arts, 82 p. — $14.95

This magnificent catalogue was published to coincide with the exhibition Arts of Nigeria in Private French Collections, which Musée de la civilisation presented in 2012-2013. It offers an incursion into the rich artistic production of Nigeria, through a remarkable sample of works from French private collections. The exceptional selection in this book is the outcome of the work and dedication of the exhibition commissioner, Alain Lebas, who, through the generosity of 26 collectors, managed to bring together a unique assortment of 187 superb items from 44 ethnic groups of Nigeria.

Internationally renowned authors were invited to write about Nigeria, its peoples, and their diverse cultures. The world of their mythology is presented so that you can better grasp the nature and importance of the items selected. A historical overview describes how these Nigerian pieces came to the French art market across a time span that covers over fifty years of interest and collecting. Finally, four seasoned collectors talk about their love for Nigerian works of art and the emotion they feel for them.

Beautiful pictures by Hughes Dubois depict most of the items presented in the exhibition. They will delight enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.

As a gift or for yourself, purchase this magnificent catalogue at gift shop of the Musée de la civilisation. 

Arts of Nigeria in Private French Collections. In partnership with publishing house Silvana Editoriale, 264 p. — $59.99

This superb publication takes its name from the international exhibition presented by Musée de la civilisation in 2011-2012. It depicts the life of Rome over the centuries from its origins to 1871, when it was proclaimed Italy's capital. Caput mundi during the Roman Empire, and holy city from the Middle Ages onward, Rome is today the Eternal City and will forever remain a unique site because of its roles as birthplace, protagonist, and witness during an extraordinary succession of historical, political, cultural, and religious events.

This magnificent book was created in partnership with the Milan publishing house Silvana Editoriale. It is composed of texts by eminent Italian and Québec experts and is abundantly illustrated with splendid pictures of the pieces on display in the exhibition. The great moments and characters of the city's history are covered: from its mythical origins to the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of Christianity; from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance; from the triumph of Baroque to the Rome of elite tourism. You will be taken up to 1870, when Italy annexed the city. This publication thus offers a fascinating trip through nearly 300 Italian and Vatican treasures: archaeological finds of great importance; masterpieces of sculpture and painting; exceptional drawings and scenes; mosaics; magnificent frescos; silverware; and items of clothing. Each piece is presented with a complete description so that specialists and enthusiasts alike can learn more about this mythical city.

Dive into the heart of Rome. Purchase this publication at gift shop of the Musée de la civilisation.

ROME. From the Origins to Italy's Capital. In partnership with the publishing house Silvana Editoriale, 264 p. — $59.99

Orteishuaniaquriouroorogold... The words may differ but they all mean the most precious metal: gold. With properties as surprising as the powers ascribed to it, gold has fascinated the peoples of the world, drawing them together in a brutal but extraordinarily productive encounter that would create today's Americas. Together, through the alchemy of time and passions, Indians, Africans, Europeans, and people of mixed races have helped forge the faces of nations and landscapes across the Americas. From pre-Hispanic treasures to the wonders of 21st century technology, the uses of gold have been limited only by human imagination.

Gold in the Americas is magnificent, solidly documented, and wondrously illustrated, having been published as a companion piece to the exhibition of the same name that Musée de la civilisation presented in 2008-2009. With ethnologist Hélène Dionne as editor, and a preface by author Dany Laferrière, it features texts by anthropologists, archaeologists, a stock market expert on gold prices, historians, and geologists from Québec, France, Canada, the United States, Ireland, Colombia, and Spain. It tells the passionate story of the gold of the Americas, beginning with the fascination that drove Christopher Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors to discover, colonize, and exploit the New World's resources and ending with exploration of the most recently discovered mining deposits of northern Québec.

Catch gold fever. Purchase this book at gift shop of the Musée de la civilisation 

Gold in the Americas. Edited by Hélène Dionne, in partnership with the publishing house Silvana Editoriale, 264 p. — $59.99

This book is a new version of one written for the exhibition Gratia Dei. A Journey Through the Middle Ages, which Musée de la civilisation presented in 2003-2004. More than a catalogue, the original version was designed as a gateway to A Journey Through the Middle Ages in line with the five themes of the exhibition: space and time; the land and the peasants; the town and the merchants; the authorities; and knowledge and communication. The current version, which came out in 2013, is a pocketbook adaptation of the original. The author's new foreword provides background for the new version of this noteworthy and still authoritative publication.

You will be taken on an amazing journey by Didier Méhu, a professor of history and medieval art history at Université Laval. The journey begins in the second Middle Ages, the one that arose after the year 1000 and profoundly reshaped Western Europe. The Middle Ages now look much brighter than the Dark Ages we have long heard about. On bookstore shelves, this period is now hailed as a time of "enlightenment," "achievement," and "wealth" from Central Europe to the Pacific. In this unique book, you will encounter people ranging from peasants to feudal lords, as well as troubadours and knights. You will relive the agricultural revolution, the advent of bookmaking, the invention of musical notation, the schools of Charlemagne, and the age of great cathedrals. You will end up with a better understanding of a civilization that differed from our own and that so greatly shaped our landscapes and our minds.

Travel back in time to the Middle Ages. Purchase this magnificent book at gift shop of the Musée de la civilisation.

Gratia Dei. A Journey Through the Middle Ages. By Didier Méhu, in partnership with the publishing house Silvana Editoriale, 264 p. — $59.99


Journey to the Heart of the First Peoples' Collections reveals objects of unimagined beauty and rarity. Its pages will bring you into the world of the Aboriginal nations of Quebec, Canada, the United States, Amazonia, and Oceania. The history of this collection spans from New France, with objects brought back by the priests of the Séminaire de Québec from missions in various regions of the Americas, to the present, with the most recent donations by collectors passionate about history and the ways of life of the First Peoples. Let yourself be enthralled by one of the oldest and richest collections in the Musée de la civilisation.

Journey to the Heart of the First Peoples' Collections. Under the direction of Marie-Paule Robitaille, Musée de la civilisation, Québec, Baraka Books, 2014, 276 p. (49.95 $)

Musée de la civilisation has priceless collections that encompass some 225,000 artefacts. For Objets de référence, the museum curators undertook a bold endeavour. Among all of these national treasures, they settled on 122 "choices from the heart"—key items that provide a full range of cultural references, each in its own way recounting several chapters of Québec's history.

Some items are practical. Others are aesthetically beautiful. Others still are official documents, original manuscripts, ceremonial uniforms, or objects that convey passion, desire, or something exceptional... They may be invaluable witnesses to our Québec identity. They may have contributed to the broader knowledge belonging to the world's cultures. All of these treasures, photographed from many angles, illustrate the art of living and know-how of their time. An Innu-Naskapi tunic, Samuel de Champlain's navigational chart, and Mgr de Laval's mitre will take you into the heart of New France. Québec's first flag, the fleurdelisé, sugar moulds, and the propeller-driven snowmobile will make you think about identity, intermixing, and innovation. Creations by designers and works of art by contemporary artists will show you the flourishing talent in Québec.

Discover the physical heritage of Québec's collective memory by purchasing a copy of this publication at gift shop of the Musée de la civilisation.

Objets de référence. 122 témoins de l'histoire. Les Éditions de l'Homme, 256 p. — Price: $39.95

In 1753, the Chapter of the Québec cathedral ordered a French organ to accompany the religious services. The organ was received and installed the same year, but was subsequently destroyed when the cathedral caught fire during the bombardments of the siege of Québec, in 1759. In May 2009, Musée de la civilisation received the donation of a Juget-Sinclair Opus 35 organ, a replica of the French organ of the Québec cathedral. How did this instrument come back to life 250 years after being destroyed? This is the exciting story told by Élisabeth Gallat-Morin, a doctor in musicology and author of L'orgue de 1753 renaît de ses cendres.

After long and meticulous research, Gallat-Morin found the bill of sale for the original organ at the Paris depository for notarial archives. With the help of reputed organist and harpsichordist Kenneth Gilbert and several other organists, she embarked on a great adventure that culminated ten years later in a faithful reconstruction of the lost instrument. Her magnificent book L'orgue de 1753 renaît de ses cendres, for which she won the Percy-W.-Foy prize from the Société d'histoire de Montréal in 2013, is lavishly illustrated with archival documents, correspondence, and photos that will guide you on a trip through our musical history and to the present-day remaking of the organ. This historical reconstitution is retold with its many ups and downs. Today, in Québec, audiences can hear the music and tonalities that resonated in the capital of New France in the 18th century.

Publication for sale at gift shop of Musée de la civilisation 

L'orgue de 1753 renaît de ses cendres. By Élisabeth Gallat-Morin, Les Éditions de l'Homme, 256 p. — Price: $39.95


L'évaluation Muséale

This method-filled guide is a must for museology teachers and students, and also for anyone working in museums, heritage conservation, and cultural tourism who wants to learn about the benefits of audience research. It is a kind of toolbox for finding out what people are concerned about, on how to meet visitors and for understanding the significance of audience evaluation by presenting the main processes evaluators use in a museum setting.

The cases it presents have been selected with a view to being exemplary and representative. Whatever the cultural institution, the object of study, or the kind of evaluation (formative, preliminary, or summative), tools are suggested for successful evaluation: evaluation guides, closed questionnaires, open-ended interview plans, observation checklists, logbook, etc. These tools are drawn from the practical experience of Lucie Daignault (Ph.D. Ed., Université Laval / Université René-Descartes), who is in charge of evaluation at Musée de la civilisation, and they attest to 23 years of ongoing work experience in museum evaluation in this institution renowned as one of the leaders in the field both nationally and internationally. In 2013, she won the Award of Outstanding Achievement of the Canadian Museums Association, in the Research category.    

L'évaluation muséale. Savoirs et savoir-faire. By Lucie Daignault, Presses de l'Université du Québec, 328 p. — Price: $42.95

Les Musées et leurs publics

Available in french only.

Pour qui les musées existent-ils ? Toutes les institutions muséales sont confrontées à cet enjeu fondamental qu'est la relation avec les publics. Pour remplir adéquatement leur mission, elles doivent analyser les comportements des visiteurs, s'interroger sur la portée de propositions culturelles, préciser leurs intentions… L'évaluation muséale s'est ainsi imposée de soi dans le monde muséal. Ses méthodes se sont affinées, ses terrains diversifiés, ses problématiques, élargies.

Cet ouvrage propose un bilan des connaissances accumulées par la pratique de l'évaluation et dégage des axes de réflexion clés :

  • Il dresse un bilan historique et critique des préoccupations et des problématiques qui ont alimenté le champ des recherches en évaluation depuis les premiers travaux de Gilman en 1911.
  • Il illustre les savoirs produits par l'évaluation au cours des 30 dernières années.
  • Il remet en question l'usage de l'évaluation dans les institutions muséales et, surtout, l'utilisation des résultats par les concepteurs et les décideurs.
  • Il expose l'incidence du numérique sur la pratique muséale, l'expérience muséale - celle de la visite - et les techniques d'évaluation.
  • Il jette un éclairage sur la sociologie des publics et les nouveaux indicateurs de la satisfaction.

L'ouvrage est enrichi d'un glossaire des concepts et des termes spécialisés les plus fréquemment utilisés en évaluation. Il permettra aux chercheurs en évaluation de mettre en perspective leurs travaux et aux praticiens du milieu muséal de s'interroger sur leurs opérations, sur leurs rapports avec la recherche, sur leurs savoirs et sur leur raison d'être.

Les Musées et Leurs Publics. Savoirs et Enjeux. Sous la direction de Lucie Daignault et Bernard Schiele, Presses de l'Université du Québec 2014, 390 pages

After its former CEO Roland Arpin died in 2010, Musée de la civilisation wished to honour the invaluable and outstanding contribution of this great museology thinker and educator by publishing a limited edition of Roland Arpin – Visions culturelles.

This publication offers a timeline highlighting the key stages of Roland Arpin's career and a short introduction by Michel Côté, the current CEO of Musée de la civilisation, followed by a brief history of the Roland-Arpin Award, describing its purpose and the stages that led to its creation, and reporting what has become of the award winners of the first ten years. Next, a selection of texts by Roland Arpin outlines the innovative and, in some ways, bold thinking of this educator, manager, and museologist. The text is interspersed with portraits and photographs that recall the watershed moments of Musée de la civilisation under his leadership. The book ends with a selective bibliography of Roland Arpin's writings.

Download the e-book

As soon as it opened, Musée de la civilisation signaled its intention to explore the great currents of society through a multidisciplinary approach, addressing cultural issues and cultural interactions and opening to the community and the world through thematic programming.

With rich texts and an abundance of illustrations, the Ideas and Challenges series takes a memorial, retrospective, prospective, reflexive and demonstrative look at the museum's productions and achievements over the past 25 years. 

Each book includes an anthology of writings from various sources, whose authors are university researchers, recognized specialists in their disciplines, popular science writers, artists and communicators. Each of their contributions was made in the context of research or reflections linked to an exhibition at the museum or cultural mediation activities (conferences, seminars and special events). 

It includes pieces by collaborators like Robert Lepage, Jean Daniel, Alice Ronfard, Léon Dion, Jean-Pierre Desaulniers, Albert Jacquard, Bernard Arcand, Henri Laborit, Lise Payette, etc.

The Ideas and Challenges series is made up of five theme-based books: "Québec Lands and History", "Women", "Expressions and Creations", "Cultures of the World", "Sciences and Societies".

Ideas and Challenges

  • Original idea and editorial management: Michel Côté, Executive Director
  • Coordination: Pierrette Lafond, Research Department
  • Le Musée de la civilisation
  • $14.95
  • Also available as a boxed set for $64.95

Scientific Publications

THEMA is a multilingual, interdisciplinary and international refereed journal published by the Musée de la civilisation (MCQ) between 2014 and 2016. It published original research articles, reports, essays, critical notes and commentaries, interviews, and exhibition reviews that addressed important issues of society in a critical and innovative manner. Essentially a journal of contemporary thought and debate, THEMA aimed to bridge disciplines and stimulate comparative approaches in order to illustrate the complexity of societies, past and present, particularly as they relate to museums. THEMA included atricles that draw from disciplines such as history, art history, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, communication, history of science, museology, philosophy, pedagogy, and aesthetics.

THEMA was produced in the tradition of the Musée de la civilisation's core values by examining original and thought-provoking topics in an interdisciplinary way. The journal regrouped contributions that both reflected on and gave further meaning to the idea of civilization, broadly defined, and its application in a museum context. Each issue explores variations on a specific theme, by bringing together authors from diverse disciplines to collectively exchange ideas and help bridge the gap between museums, societies, and cultures.

Visit THEMA THEMA. La revue des Musées de la civilisation


Issue 1 (2014)                                                        Issue 2 (2015)


Issue 3 (2015)

Issue 4 (2016)             

THEMA is supported by the Plan culturel numérique du Québec
(Québec's digital cultural plan)

Variations publishes the research findings of Musée de la civilisation.

Variations is a new online series of theme-based publications that aim to highlight the many research findings produced by our staff members or by external researchers for numerous institutional projects. In short, the aim is to take the reader into the museum's backrooms and laboratories.

The texts vary over a range of subjects. For consistency, the Variations series is divided into three collections:

  • The collection Pratiques muséales (Museum Practices) offers original thoughts and ideas about relevant museum experiences.
  • The collection Objets et savoirs (Objects and Knowledge) publishes articles that build on themes addressed by our projects or that present a component of our collections.
  • The collection Dialogues (Dialogues) proposes texts from conferences, symposia or various workshops.

Collection Dialogues

First issue (French only): Le Québec depuis 1870 : entre histoire nationale et histoire transnationale

Collection Museum Practices

First issue (French only): Réminiscence, quand le passé aide le présent

Variations Réminiscence quand le passé aide le présent

Collection Objects and Knowledge

First issue: (French only) Les jeux vidéo au cœur de l'art, de la culture et de la société (Video Games in Art, Culture, and Society)


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