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Quebec to build network of museums devoted to celebrating Québécois culture, history

Quebec Premier François Legault speaks at a news conference, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Quebec City. The government announces the creation of an "Espaces Bleus" network to promote Quebec cultural heritage. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec has announced the creation of Espace bleu — a network of museums dedicated to Québécois culture and history, focusing on regional strengths in an immersive setting.

Quebec Premier François Legault made the announcement in Quebec City on Thursday.

“What we are presenting today is a space where we will celebrate the pride of being a Quebecer,” he said. “What we are announcing is the start of construction of l’Espace bleu in the national capital.

The motherhouse, as Legault called the main Espace bleu museum, will be built on the site of the Séminaire de Québec founded in 1663 by the first bishop of New France, with smaller regional museums scattered across the province.

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The idea is for the government to acquire and refurbish heritage buildings to house future museums.

“For the moment, we’re putting aside $260 million for the development of each Espace bleu,” said Culture Minister Nathalie Roy.

Each museum will have space dedicated for permanent and temporary exhibits focusing on regional heroes, as well as a multipurpose room for hosting concerts featuring local artists and other cultural happenings.

Local produce and culinary specialties will also be available at the various Espace bleu cafés.

The smaller satellite museums will focus on highlighting local success stories, Legault said.

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While the premier focused on Quebec’s French heritage, he said there would be room for contributions from Anglophone Quebecers and Indigenous Peoples as well.

“There will be place for anglophones, because they are part of our history,” he said. “The First Nations are part of our history, they were there even before our nation’s history, so yes, they will be part of our Espace bleu.”

Legault hopes the network of museums will help promote tourism in the province by shining a light not only on Quebec’s rich culture and history but on the landscapes that played a part in shaping it.

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The museum’s main revenue source will be ticket sales Legault said, however, the premier did not provide an estimate of how much admissions might be, stating only that tickets would be affordable.

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