“the museum experience is shaped by the exhibition content but is “identity-driven” (Anderson & Gosselin, 2008; Dicks, 2000; Falk, 2009; Leinhardt & Knutson, 2004; Robert, 1997; Rounds, 2006; Smith, 2006). The specific contribution of historical exhibitions to the visitor’s identity could be viewed as providing additional material (new images, new stories, new references) to build their own personal histories in relation to and through larger collective narratives. This idea finds resonance with the hypothesis of historian and lead researcher of the Canadians and their Past, Jocelyn Letourneau. The essence of his argument is that Canadians’ interest and engagement with the collective past finds its prime motivation in the construction of self-identity and that for this reason, individuals tend to project their personal narrative and historicity into the larger historical picture, rather than the opposite (Letourneau, 2009).”
“The Debate on History Education in Quebec”, in New Possibilities for the Past : Shaping History Education in Canada, Penney Clark (Ed.), Vancouver, UBC Press, 2011, p. 81-96.
In a book that caused quite a stir when it first appeared, the French historian Marc Ferro said that history was under surveillance. How better to characterize the critical activity that since April 2006, has been unleashed against efforts by the Quebec Ministry of Education (MEQ) to transform the national history course previously offered to high school students into a history and citizenship education course. The term “unleashed” is not exaggerated here. It properly conveys the magnitude of the reaction provoked by the ministerial decision to have young Quebecers acquire a broader and more complex comprehension of the Quebec historical experience, with a view toward building the Quebec of tomorrow. As the opponents to the state’s initiative see it, the contemplated reform of the national history course had a quite different and utterly reprehensible goal: undoing the existing corpus of historical references underlying young Quebecers’ historical consciousness. Hence the need, felt by those protesting the new history curriculum, to represent the MEQ’s decision as a Trojan horse leading to the possible dismantling of a collective identity. Such a curriculum, one critic noted, would lead to nothing less than the “tranquil denationalization of Quebec’s identity.”