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Indepth Arts News:

"Picturing a Canadian Life: L.M. Montgomery's Personal Scrapbooks and Book Covers"
2002-08-30 until 2007-08-30
Confederation Centre Art Gallery
Charlottetown, PE, CA Canada

L.M. Montgomery (1874-1942), one of Canada's most famous authors, is the subject of a virtual exhibit entitled "Picturing a Canadian Life: L.M. Montgomery's Personal Scrapbooks and Book Covers" that will be online from August 30, 2002, through August 2007 at http://lmm.confederationcentre.com and http://www.virtualmuseum.ca.

This virtual exhibit, created in partnership with the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC), is the first online exhibit hosted by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Everyone is invited to go to http://lmm.confederationcentre.com on August 30, at noon (Atlantic daylight time) to view the exhibit and a live webcast of the launch.

Internationally-renowned Montgomery scholar Dr. Elizabeth Rollins Epperly, curator of the exhibition, wrote a 40,000-word script that accompanies almost 800 images from Montgomery's personal scrapbooks and book covers, many of which have never before been seen by the public.

Video and interactive components on the site help viewers to explore how Montgomery used her imagination to collect, create, and inspire images of Canadian life. By drawing on five archival and museum collections, the exhibit is significant in terms of size and content.

As director of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Jon Tupper is delighted that the Gallery's involvement in this virtual exhibit is an important step forward in bringing Canadian art and artists to the huge numbers of people who use the Internet.

"Virtual exhibits provide the Gallery with opportunities to expand our audiences," says Tupper. "They give our online visitors the opportunity of experiencing significant elements of our collections. The curatorial interpretation of the text and the site design provide significant enhancement to those familiar with L.M. Montgomery's work by looking into her life and times. For those unfamiliar with the work of this important Canadian writer, the virtual exhibit provides a wonderful opportunity to engage with her writing and the period in which she lived."

In planning the site, Epperly kept students, parents, teachers, Montgomery fans, scholars, and enthusiasts in mind. "Virtual Art Inc. has helped us create a site we think is fun and informative," she says. "People who get to know Montgomery in the classroom, or through The Charlottetown Festival musical, or through her books - and even people who want to know 'Why read Montgomery?' - should find something worthwhile to explore. Researchers should find threads to follow too, since these materials have never before been displayed together."

Epperly is pleased that the Montgomery materials will be available to the public for the first time. "The scrapbooks are too fragile for people to handle, and the covers are too numerous to display easily, so the Web offers a perfect way to bring these things together for viewing. Besides, Montgomery is an acknowledged Canadian hero, and so it is important for Canadians and others to understand something special about her creativity."

Two of the Island author's personal scrapbooks are at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and, during the summer months, at the L.M. Montgomery Birthplace; four are housed in the University of Guelph's extensive holdings, which also include Montgomery's journals and photographs. Covers from over 160 selected first and special editions of Montgomery's novels are from the "Ronald I. Cohen Lucy Maud Montgomery Collection" at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa. In addition, some footage from the L.M. Montgomery Institute's award-winning CD, "The Bend in the Road," is also included in the exhibit.

Online through to August 2007, the website will be hosted by, and maintained under the direction of, the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Contracted by the VMC, the exhibit was created with assistance from the National Library of Canada, The University of Guelph Library, The L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island, and the Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace. In addition, elements of this project were supported by Smart Communities initiatives.

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