New museum exhibit offers multitude of fun for kids

Topsy-Turvy Storyland at the McCord Museum celebrates fairytales...with a twist or two



A new exhibit at the McCord Museum celebrates the magic of classic fairytales…with a twist. In Topsy-Turvy Storyland, stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and The Little Mermaid have been reinterpreted in an immersive and fun space to draw visitors into a new story. This exhibit will run from November 19, 2017 through March 17, 2018.

According to Project Manager Gene-viève Larouche, the exhibit is designed to evoke a magical world with all five senses. Each story has its own area within the exhibit, with a unique soundtrack and sensory activities. Children can peek through the shutters of Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma’s house, venture inside a child-sized version of the candy house in Hansel and Gretel in an enchanted forest, bowl with animal shaped pins, try to guess the names of spices by their smells, identify birds with the help of binoculars and an iPad, and take part in other games and activities. “It’s a very immersive experience,” Larouche said.

But there’s more to the stories than meets the eye. As young visitors explore, they will discover this fairytale world has been turned upside down by an evil fairy who has mixed up characters and objects from familiar tales. Children will be challenged to break the spell by using their powers of observation to find 10 lost items (among more than 100 decorative art objects and toys from the McCord Museum collection). Their visit will end in an enchanted library, where they can explore fairytales from around the world.

Larouche said the exhibit has been designed to appeal to children between the ages of 3 to 9, but said the library will be stocked with books for every age, and some activities will appeal to older and younger children as well. “We are proud of this exhibit. It’s very magical, very colourful. It looks great,” Larouche said. “We made it just for the kids.”

On selected dates, the museum offers additional special programs for children. On Dec. 29 & 30 and Jan. 5 & 6 between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be a special holiday workshop where families can decorate a gingerbread house with candies. On Sundays in December, kids are invited to a story hour at 11 a.m. (in French) and 2 p.m. (in English) featuring tales related to the exhibitions. They can also create their own pop-up storybooks using drawing and decoupage techniques. Kids can also stop by the front desk to pick up a backpack full of goodies for Adventure at the Museum or to collect exploration game cards to guide them on a treasure hunt to find geometric shapes, flowers, animals and hidden characters in the exhibitions.

On the last Wednesday of every month, the museum also offers a special activity for parents with babies. On Dec. 27, parents and babies under 18 months will enjoy free access to the museum between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and will be given the materials needed to craft their own Christmas rattles.  

This Topsy-Turvy Storyland exhibit will wrap up in March. The McCord Museum is located at  690 Sherbrooke St. W.,. Admission is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $13 for children 13-17, free for kids 12 and under. The museum is open Tues. to Sun. but is closed on Christmas Day.

For more information, visit musee-mccord.qc.ca.

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