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Anderson, D., and V. Gosselin. “Private and Public Memories of Expo 67: A Case Study of Recollections of Montreal’s World’s Fair, 40 Years After the Event.” Museum & Society 6(1) (2008): 1-21.


This paper discusses the results of a long-term memory study in which fifty visitors to Expo 67 (25 participants from British Columbia and 25 from Quebec) shared their recollections of their personal experience forty years after the event. The impetus for this study stems from a desire to understand the long-term impact of visitors’ experience in informal, leisure-time contexts, and, particularly in large-scale exhibitions. This paper presents and discusses outcomes that elucidate the nature of personal memories of Expo 67 and in relation to the collective memory of cultural events/productions. Moreover, the study illustrates and discusses an interesting paradox of personal memories of the event. Specifically, most visitors report common themes surrounding the memory of self (the script of events, the things they saw and did), yet almost all participants report highly idiosyncratic stories that are mediated by their personal identities, and more so, the recollection and perception of the national significance of Expo 67 appears clearly differentiated by cultural communities to which they are affiliated. These understandings provide insights that assist museums and similar institutions employing exhibit media to comprehend the long-term impact of visitors’ experiences.

Informal Science