Miniature Enthusiasts of Montreal (M.E.M.), a non-profit organization, was the dream-child of Phyllis Fowler Cowan and her crafts’ shop partner, Corrine Summers.
After visiting a hobby fair in Chicago and subsequently the Chicago Art Institute, where they saw the famous one-inch-scale Thorne Rooms Collection, they decided to introduce the miniature hobby to Montrealers.
This is a reprint of an article written by Deborah Di Paolo that was published in the July 1982 issue of Little Things – The First Canadian Miniature Digest. It provides some interesting history of the early days of our club …
“In 1976, Phyllis Fowler and Corrine Summers visited the famous Thorne Rooms in Chicago. They became very excited about the hobby of miniature making and collecting. Phyllis decided to start a club for the Montreal area. After all, Montreal had a lot of talented people! Hadn’t she and Corrine already met scores of them at their craft store. So, they took up the challenge and together they created a whole new outlet for Canadian talent. The Miniature Enthusiasts of Montreal (M.E.M.) was formed with seven charter members in February 1978.
Its founding members were Phyllis, Corrine, Martha Brosseau, Joanne Callard, June Kennedy, Joanna Olsen and Doris Pearce. The first meeting was held at the home of the president, Phyllis Fowler, which thirty people attended. M.E.M.’s first guest speaker was Sister Florence Quigley, who spoke about the miniature exhibit depicting the life of Marguerite Bourgeoys, at the Bonsecours Chapel in Old Montreal.
In its first year, the club exhibited at Christmas Park School, Stewart Hall and the Beaconsfield Library. Within months of its founding, the club had fifty-two members. In year number two, with Michael Etcovitch as president, membership grew to ninety- three. A monthly raffle was instituted to finance the club newsletter. M.E.M. adopted its own logo in 1980, the design for which was created by member Hazel Henry and Martha Brosseau became president for the club’s third season.
In April of 1981, M.E.M. held its first show and sale. Success was sweet and prompted the second annual show and sale in 1982. The club’s fourth president, Beverley Lun was very ‘pleased with members’ enthusiasm for working towards another successful exhibition.
Over the last five years, M.E.M. has added members and lost members, but remains a tight-knit group of working friends … friends sharing ideas, fantasies, and a hobby you may think, but it’s more than that.
Every monthly meeting is a family reunion. Each person knows they can always turn to a fellow M.E.M.ber and get encouragement, praise and help when needed. M.E.M. is definitely keeping minis alive and growing in Montreal.” Membership was and continues to always be open for all who are interested in knowing more about miniatures. Monthly meetings began in April 1978 and over the years membership has fluctuated but our enthusiasm has not. To read more about M.E.M.’s membership, click on the link, Fees and Meetings in the left navigation area.