For the first time ever, L.M. Montgomery’s famed Anne of Green Gables manuscript will be made widely accessible as the central feature of an upcoming online exhibition. Announced today, the ambitious new exhibition, Exploring a National Treasure: L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables Manuscript, will be developed through a partnership between the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG), and the L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI) and the Robertson Library at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI).
Launching in 2022, Exploring a National Treasure is envisioned as a rich digital experience for readers and fans around the world, showcasing the writing of the famous novel in an unprecedented digital manner. The virtual exhibition will be curated by Montgomery scholar, Dr. Emily Woster. Dr. Elizabeth Epperly, founder of the LMMI, will be a consultant on the exhibition. The online project will be developed with an investment by the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Key themes in the exhibition include Montgomery’s creativity, writing, and editing processes; the story of Anne and her origins in Cavendish, P.E.I. in the early 20th century; the novel’s international success; and creative adaptations of the Anne story.
Viewers will be invited to rediscover this famous literary work and its rich legacy. The exhibition will increase accessibility to the manuscript while the digital version will help preserve the original pen and ink on paper manuscript, acquired for the CCAG’s permanent collection in 1967.
“I have certainly observed Montgomery scholars visiting the Island to conduct research on the manuscripts here at the CCAG,” shares Gallery Director Kevin Rice. “I have also witnessed international visitors being mesmerized at seeing the handwritten Anne manuscript on exhibition. This upcoming new virtual exhibition is an opportunity to make this rare artifact widely accessible to readers and scholars.”
“It is a very exciting opportunity to create this exhibition, and we are extremely appreciative of the investment in this project by the Virtual Museum of Canada,” Rice continues, adding that the CCAG is pleased to be collaborating with the Robertson Library and the LMMI on this initiative, which speaks to the organizations’ shared mandate to preserve works of cultural value and foster educational outreach.
“The LMMI exists to promote research into, and informed celebration of, Montgomery’s life and works, and so we could not be more excited about partnering in this project,” offers Dr. Philip Smith, chair of the LMMI Management Committee. “Making the handwritten manuscript of Montgomery’s most famous novel—complete with editing marks and strike-throughs—available for scholars and fans across the world will generate new understanding and appreciation of the book and author. Added features, such as a 360-degree animation of the Macneill Homestead’s kitchen in Cavendish, where the novel was written, will enrich our connection with Montgomery’s beloved home, her community, and her times.”
“A leader in digitization and a steward of physical and digital collections by and about Montgomery, the Robertson Library at UPEI welcomes the opportunity to partner with the CCAG and the LMMI on this project,” remarks University Librarian Donald Moses. “By digitizing Montgomery’s original manuscript for Anne of Green Gables, we will be able to display, navigate, and visualize the novel and the writer’s creative process in new ways. Through interactive experiences, Canadians and the international Montgomery community will be reintroduced to this literary treasure.”
Visitors to the bilingual exhibition, Exploring a National Treasure, will have digital access to all 853 pages of the manuscript, including the interesting material—notes and short snippets of work—that exists on the backs of pages. With the manuscript as the exhibition’s central pillar, visitors, whether new to Montgomery’s works or researchers familiar with the author, will be able to engage with new research, watch animations and videos of places and moments vital to the book, and hear expert commentary and dramatic retellings of Anne’s important place in Canadian history.
For information on current exhibitions on display at the CCAG in Charlottetown, please visit Confederation Centre’s website.
Image cutline: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables manuscript, page one, 1905 (published 1908), pen and ink on paper, purchased, 1967, Collection of Confederation Centre Art Gallery.
Note about the funding program: The Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) is an investment program that helps build digital capacity in Canadian museums and heritage organizations and gives Canadians unique access to diverse stories and experiences. The VMC is managed by the Canadian Museum of History, with the financial support of the Government of Canada.