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The new $255-million Canadian Museum of Civilization in Quebec has been dubbed by some critics as Disneyland North, but that doesn't bother its director, George MacDonald. "We're a populist museum and I'm not ashamed of that," he declares. Furthermore, he adds, there's nothing wrong with borrowing some of the ideas used so successfully at California's Disneyland and Florida's Disney World, because the museum's intent is more serious and the various exhibitions are founded on sound museum principles. In History Hall, for instance, exhibits are complemented by lighting, video and sound effects, and images of geese fly overhead on the domed ceiling. "Because these are three-dimensional environments, there is a sense of participation that visitors can't get from a history book," MacDonald believes. He feels this approach makes the museum "user-friendly," in contrast with some museums that seem like inhospitable high-security institutions.

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