Class in the Physics Amphitheatre, Séminaire de Québec

1936 Photograph by W.B. Edwards Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec archival holdings, Ph1997-0229

W.B. Edwards
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen

Photograph
Ph1997-0229
© 2008, Musée de la civilisation. All Rights Reserved.


After the British conquered New France, the Jesuit college was forced to close. In 1765, the Séminaire de Québec took over the responsibility for the general education of youth, in addition to its primary role of training priests.

In 1771, a program for the teaching of science appeared at the Séminaire de Québec. Following the Jesuit tradition, science was taught in a bookish manner. The lessons were dictated in Latin and the students copied the teacher’s notes. Included as part of the philosophy curriculum, science courses were given every two years.

The archives do however indicate some experimental activity at an astronomical observatory that was set up in 1770 on the roof of the Séminaire.
After the British conquered New France, the Jesuit college was forced to close. In 1765, the Séminaire de Québec took over the responsibility for the general education of youth, in addition to its primary role of training priests.

In 1771, a program for the teaching of science appeared at the Séminaire de Québec. Following the Jesuit tradition, science was taught in a bookish manner. The lessons were dictated in Latin and the students copied the teacher’s notes. Included as part of the philosophy curriculum, science courses were given every two years.

The archives do however indicate some experimental activity at an astronomical observatory that was set up in 1770 on the roof of the Séminaire.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Buildings of the Séminaire de Québec, Université Laval, Lower Town and the port of Québec

1933 Photograph by Livernois Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec archival holdings, Ph1997-0068

Livernois, Québec
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen

Ph1997-0068
© 2008, Musée de la civilisation. All Rights Reserved.


Astronomical refracting telescope

19th century Made by E. Ducretet, France Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec collection, 1993.12781.1-10 This telescope attests to the astronomy practiced by the community of priests at the Séminaire de Québec.

E. Ducretet, France
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen

1993.12781.1-10
© 2008, Musée de la civilisation. All Rights Reserved.


At the beginning of the 19th century, Abbé Jérôme Demers took over the teaching of physics and science. Drawing especially on Nollet’s influence in popularizing science in Europe, he introduced new teaching methods, with the emphasis on demonstration. His courses therefore focussed on the use of scientific instruments to demonstrate physical concepts.

This renewal of teaching methods, combined with an institutional interest in science, led to the teaching of philosophy and science as two separate courses. From having a single teacher in 1800, to teach philosophy, physics and mathematics, the Séminaire de Québec over time appointed several priests to teach the sciences. By the middle of the century, students could take courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, mineralogy, zoology and botany.

The Séminaire established a tradition among the network of French-Canadian colleges, namely, the collecting of scientific instruments and the creation of physics cabinets. In 1829, Jérôme Demers accordingly remarked to Governor Kempt that the Séminaire de Québec "has at great expe Read More
At the beginning of the 19th century, Abbé Jérôme Demers took over the teaching of physics and science. Drawing especially on Nollet’s influence in popularizing science in Europe, he introduced new teaching methods, with the emphasis on demonstration. His courses therefore focussed on the use of scientific instruments to demonstrate physical concepts.

This renewal of teaching methods, combined with an institutional interest in science, led to the teaching of philosophy and science as two separate courses. From having a single teacher in 1800, to teach philosophy, physics and mathematics, the Séminaire de Québec over time appointed several priests to teach the sciences. By the middle of the century, students could take courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, mineralogy, zoology and botany.

The Séminaire established a tradition among the network of French-Canadian colleges, namely, the collecting of scientific instruments and the creation of physics cabinets. In 1829, Jérôme Demers accordingly remarked to Governor Kempt that the Séminaire de Québec "has at great expense acquired all the instruments required to conduct all the experiments for an excellent course in Physics, without having to resort to suppositions."

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Pulley Device

ca. 1844 Hand-crafted, Canada Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec collection, 1993.12454.1-23 By manipulating this device, students learned something about systems operating by mechanical force.

(Handcrafted in Canada)
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen
c. 1844
CANADA
1993.12454.1-23
© 2008, Musée de la civilisation. All Rights Reserved.


With the impetus given by Jérôme Demers, one of the first science museums was opened at the Séminaire de Québec in 1806. This museum is believed to have included a physics cabinet and, later on, a natural science collection, featuring mineralogy in particular.

The priests’ desire to include demonstration in their teaching then led them to look for objects with high educational value. This is why several science museums and cabinets were created at this institution in the 19th century.

When the Séminaire de Québec began to offer courses in natural sciences, it established collections in botany, zoology, mineralogy and geology. These cabinets were the responsibility of various instructors and conservators, according to their area of specialization.The collections from physics, chemistry and natural science cabinets are now of national historical interest.
With the impetus given by Jérôme Demers, one of the first science museums was opened at the Séminaire de Québec in 1806. This museum is believed to have included a physics cabinet and, later on, a natural science collection, featuring mineralogy in particular.

The priests’ desire to include demonstration in their teaching then led them to look for objects with high educational value. This is why several science museums and cabinets were created at this institution in the 19th century.

When the Séminaire de Québec began to offer courses in natural sciences, it established collections in botany, zoology, mineralogy and geology. These cabinets were the responsibility of various instructors and conservators, according to their area of specialization.The collections from physics, chemistry and natural science cabinets are now of national historical interest.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Physics cabinet at the Séminaire de Québec

1936 Photograph by W.B. Edwards Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec archival holdings, Ph1997-0231 The appearance of the physics cabinet changed very little from the time it was created to the time this picture was taken.

Photograph by W.B. Edwards
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen

Photograph
Ph1997-0231
© 2008, Musée de la civilisation. All Rights Reserved.


Channel-billed Toucan, Rhamphastos vitellinus

Channel-billed toucan, Rhamphastos vitellinus Order: Piciformes Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec collection, 1995.1606

CHIN
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen

1995.1606
© 2008, Musée de la civilisation. All Rights Reserved.


To improve the level of education offered to the public, the Séminaire founded Université Laval in 1852, the first French-language university in North America. This new vocation had major repercussions for teachers. Some priests, such as Thomas-Étienne Hamel, sought training abroad to acquire the knowledge needed to instruct at the university level. During his travels, Abbé Hamel purchased several scientific instruments that he would add to the collection in the physics cabinet, a source of pride and status for the new university.
To improve the level of education offered to the public, the Séminaire founded Université Laval in 1852, the first French-language university in North America. This new vocation had major repercussions for teachers. Some priests, such as Thomas-Étienne Hamel, sought training abroad to acquire the knowledge needed to instruct at the university level. During his travels, Abbé Hamel purchased several scientific instruments that he would add to the collection in the physics cabinet, a source of pride and status for the new university.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Physics cabinet, library and zoology museum, Université Laval, 1852-1902

1902 Musée de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec archival holdings, A93

CHIN
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen

A93
© 2008, Musée de la civilisation. All Rights Reserved.


While educational institutions were acquiring collections, learned societies were created in the 19th century to popularize the scientific innovations of the era. These scientific societies, such as the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, its Francophone counterpart, the Mechanics’ Institute of Quebec, and the Société pour l’encouragement des sciences et des arts au Canada [Society for the advancement of the arts and sciences in Canada], included members of the intellectual elite, the middle class and no doubt craftsmen as well.
While educational institutions were acquiring collections, learned societies were created in the 19th century to popularize the scientific innovations of the era. These scientific societies, such as the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, its Francophone counterpart, the Mechanics’ Institute of Quebec, and the Société pour l’encouragement des sciences et des arts au Canada [Society for the advancement of the arts and sciences in Canada], included members of the intellectual elite, the middle class and no doubt craftsmen as well.

© 2008, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify and appreciate the way history and culture shape a society’s science and technology
  • Describe scientific and technological developments, past and present and appreciate their impact on individuals and societies
  • Describe how Canadians have contributed to science and technology on the global stage

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