The Idea of the Penitentiary

Exhibition, Hall cases, 8 November 1995 to 31 May 1996

This exhibition explores the notion of penitentiary, which worked its way into the consciousness and across the landscape of Europe and North America during the nineteenth century. Drawing upon the growing rationalist tendencies in architecture and social theory during the eighteenth century, proponents of penitentiary emphasised a clear geometry of separation, surveillance, and hygiene.

The Idea of the Penitentiary brings together over 50 architectural drawings, books, reports, trade catalogues, and material artefacts. Based on the CCA collection, it includes material from the National Archives of Canada, McGill University Library, and the Correctional Service of Canada Museum.

Curated by David Vanderburgh, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and Cammie McAtee, CCA.

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