Did you know MICS has a museum?
The Mingan Islands Cetacean Study station has its very own museum located in Longue-Pointe-De-Mingan, on the north shore of Quebec! The museum is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm, during the summer season only (from June to mid-September). At the museum, you can learn about the marine mammals, ecosystem and research MICS has been conducting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the past 40 years!
Frontside of the museum © MICS photo
- A Brief History –
The museum was designed and created by Richard Sears in 1992 alongside the help of many others. The construction of the building was completed in 1993. However it took several additional years to complete the paintings and sculptures inside the museum. The MICS team members during this period also assisted with the construction of the building. In addition to the ongoing research projects at MICS, building maintenance, laying tiles, painting and cleaning was a part of the team’s daily lives.
The masonry work was completed by Richard Lemet, the owner of a local business. The observation tower, laboratory and the dark room were built by Jacques Gélineau, a good friend of the station. Everything else was a completed due to the combined effort from the MICS team!
In 1995, Park Canada proposed to add an extension in order to create a Mingan Archipelago exhibition and provide visitors with information about the region. Since then, a collaboration has existed between the two organizations.
- PAINTINGS – SCULPTURES – BONES -
The main mural in the museum was created by Barbara Outram, who initially came as a session for the Baja California project. Barbara generously donated the mural to the museum. The floor mosaic in the main hall of the museum was designed by Richard Sears and Daniel Grenier, and was completed by a company in New York. The animal represented in the mosaic is Fleuret, a well-known humpback whale, first sighted in 1982.
The main hall in the museum © MICS photo
All the paintings and sculptures were made by the talented Daniel Grenier, a member of the MICS team for many years. During this time, he devoted all of his free time to the artwork, that continues to impress visitors to this day.
The developing artwork © MICS photo
The museum displays a minke whale skeleton, which allows us to discuss the evolution of marine mammals over millions of years. This particular minke whale was found dead, entangled in fishing gear off the Mingan Archipelago. The team towed the whale to the beach, where a necropsy was performed and the bones were saved for the museum.
The baleen, vertebrae and mandibles displayed originated from several different species including the fin whale, blue whale and minke whale. The items were collected from different carcasses that had stranded near Longue-Pointe and came to augment the present collection in the museum. The jaw of sperm whale is also present, due to the discovery of a carcass near Sheldrake several years ago.
- MANY OTHER THINGS TO DISCOVER -
The research station also provides a projection room, where the visitors can watch "The Mystery of the Blue Whale", which features Richard Sears, as well as various video footage taken in the St. Lawrence. There are also short videos featuring the research boats, underwater and aerial views of marine life that lives in the impressive Gulf of St. Lawrence!
Projection room © MICS photo
The museum provides other educational materials, including an acoustic room, prey samples, 3D maps and many beautiful photographs, so that visits to the museum are creative and educational.
When visiting Longue-Pointe, the museum is a must-do! Whether you prefer a guided tour or to explore by yourself, a quick or longer visit, it is always a pleasure for the MICS team to share our passion and provide any information about the incredible biodiversity of the St. Lawrence!
- EXCLUSIVE -
Following the publication of "As long as there are whales" written by Evelyne Daigle and illustrated by Daniel Grenier, the original works that served to illustrate the story are now on sale at the museum. Whether you are art lovers, in love with whales or want to support the research and conservation of cetaceans in the St. Lawrence, please do not hesitate to donate! The three works on sale are unique copies, already framed for the price of 350 $ CA each!
If you pass in the region, do not hesitate to visit us! On request, we organize group tours for schools or other organizations. Guided tours are done every day at 9:15 - 10:45 - 13:15 and 15h! You also have the opportunity to visit the museum without a guide, at your own pace.
Whether guided or free, short or long, it will be a pleasure for all our team to make you discover the incredible biodiversity of the St. Lawrence, and to share our passion with you !