|Making This Virtual Exhibition|
Why a Virtual Exhibition?
The principal elements of this exhibition are housed in four different locations: the National Library (for the book covers), the University of Guelph Library (for four of the six memorabilia scrapbooks and for a large collection of photographs of and by Montgomery), the Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace (the two Prince Edward Island scrapbooks), and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum (where the PEI memorabilia and other scrapbooks are housed in winter). These elements have never been on display in one physical location; indeed, making such an exhibition would be hazardous for the scrapbooks and could, in any case, make only two facing pages available from each scrapbook at any one time. Making a coherent physical display of more than one hundred and sixty-five book covers would take up a great deal of room.
These rarely-seen materials could not be widely accessible for study or enjoyment except through a digital exhibition.
L.M. Montgomery's novels are famous world-wide; most of the titles have remained in print since their first publication and many of them have been translated into other languages. Part of Montgomery's genius lies in her creation of powerful mental pictures for the reader--pictures of everyday life in turn-of-the-century and early twentieth-century Canada. Her depictions of Canada are sometimes all people know of Canada. The book covers suggest how these images of Canada have been marketed to many audiences over time. What inspired the images Montgomery captured in words?
Avid record-keeper that she was, Montgomery kept many of the images that arrested her attention in personal scrapbooks: photographs and colored fabrics, souvenirs and clippings. Seeing some of the images she preserved together with some of the images she inspired suggests the power of her visual imagination in ways her words alone may not do.