New France: how can we render a faithful portrait of such a vast entity without fear of neglecting whole chapters of its history? This was the challenge we set for ourselves in renewing this virtual museum. Two major objectives guided our endeavour. First, to extend the scope of the exhibition to encompass all of New France, from Acadia through Canada and the Pays d’en haut of the Great Lakes, to Louisiana. Second, to present a wide range of facets of the French colonial experience. We established five main themes for the exhibition: colonies and empires, population, everyday life, economic activities and heritage.
These main themes are subdivided into a variety of headings that the reader can explore at leisure, such as foodways, entertainment, and health and medicine. Prepared in collaboration with a variety of specialists and combining historical and archaeological knowledge, the texts presented here are based on the most recent research and perspectives.
In order to provide readers with an accurate view of the specific characteristics of New France and the factors that influenced its destiny, we have not hesitated to look beyond its spatial and temporal boundaries. Indeed, from the 16th to the 18th centuries, New France finds its place within much broader contexts: that of European expansion, of the encounter with Aboriginal peoples, and of the roots of the Francophonie in America.