Collections and Research
Curator, Textual Archives
When I was a student, I was lucky enough to get a temporary position in an archives centre, where my job was to catalogue the correspondence of a member of an illustrious 19th century Quebec family. The experience of handling and reading these private letters moved me, and I immediately understood why their content was valuable and deserved to be shared.
Céline Widmer has been Curator, Textual Archives, at the McCord Museum since 2011. She works on developing, preserving and promoting this collection, in addition to guiding its future with new acquisitions.
Her aim is to optimize the cataloguing of the Museum’s textual archives and rare books and maximize the research done on this collection, while ensuring that it reaches a diverse audience. Since this corpus is sometimes more difficult to display, primarily because it is less visual, she would like to develop new ways to share textual archives, using methods like digitization and multidisciplinary collaboration. A partnership with the Ville de Montréal Archives begun in 2013 has given birth to various projects, including Archives au pluriel, le Montréal de 1914-1918. This creative, archives-based work continues to evolve to this day.
Her contributions to the Museum’s exhibitions include helping to develop Bens, The Legendary Deli in 2014 and collaborating on the exhibition Decolonial Gestures or Doing it Wrong? Refaire le chemin in 2016.
With a degree in history and medieval studies from the University of Ottawa and one in information science from Université de Montréal, Céline Widmer has extensive professional experience in the fields of archival and library science. She worked for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the publisher Éditions de l’Homme and Radio-Canada before becoming director of the Archive of the Jesuits in Canada in 2008, where she orchestrated the move of more than two linear kilometres of documents.
Widmer, Céline and Nicolas Bednarz. “Archives au pluriel : le Montréal de 1914-1918. L’expérience d’une création collaborative et multidisciplinaire.” In Archives et créations : nouvelles perspectives sur l’archivistique 2, edited by Yvon Lemay and Anne Klein, 112–142. Montreal: Université de Montréal, École de bibliothèque et des sciences de l’information (EBSI), 2015.
“Le potentiel renouvelable de l’archive. Revisiter sa mémoire en interrogeant les mille vérités des sources.” In Collecting Knowledge: New Dialogues on McCord Museum Collections/À la recherche du savoir : Nouveaux échanges sur les collections du Musée McCord, edited by Joanne Burgess, Cynthia Cooper, Céline Widmer and Natasha Zwarich, 211-224. Montreal: Éditions MultiMondes, 2015.
“Archives au pluriel, le Montréal de 1914–1918,” Consommer l’information : de la gestion à la médiation documentaire, Association des archivistes du Québec (AAQ), Quebec City, June 15, 2016.
“Le potentiel renouvelable de l’archive. Revisiter sa mémoire en interrogeant les mille vérités des sources,” Collecting Knowledge: New Dialogues on McCord Museum Collections, Montréal, Dynamic HubSpace: History, Heritage, Future and the McCord Museum, Montreal, November 7–9, 2013.
“Identité et diversité au service d’une diffusion créative des archives,” Célébrons notre diversité, Association des archivistes du Québec (AAQ), Montebello, June 7, 2013.