A Step Back in Time

Rachel Katz


It was hovering around 3ºC in Montreal. I had stupidly worn only a windbreaker and was dying to go inside. The wind whipped around my face as I followed
my parents and brother up the steps to the door. The four of us had a little
chuckle at the sign with a dinosaur on it and then I reached for the door
handle. It did not budge. After a solid yank, it yielded and we stepped into
the McGill campus’s Redpath Museum. I looked around, astonished. It was the
kind of old, solid wood building only described in books. The space itself was
beautiful, richly-coloured, and varnished, without being too extravagant;
however, the architecture could not compete with the specimens within the
museum. It was like visiting a turn-of-the-century gentlemen’s curio club.
Arranged around the three floors of exhibits were fossils and skeletons, geological
wonders, a slab of a 700-year-old tree that was wider than I am tall, an
Egyptian mummy, and even a shrunken head. It was as though my entire family had
been reduced to a state of child-like wonder. We wandered around the museum for
well over two hours, peeking in every nook and cranny, taking in all the
details. In my mind, this was what going to the museum should be like: a cozy,
warmly-lit space full of some of the world’s most interesting wonders. As we
left the museum at the end of our exploration, I couldn’t help but feel a
little bit jealous of the Montrealers who get to go to the Redpath Museum
whenever they want. Every once in a while, we come across a place where we
automatically feel at home, and I think the Redpath Museum was such a place for