The museum showcases some 18 000 artefacts.
Our collection is part of our permanent exhibit
From the Cellar to the Attic and the annual temporary exhibits.
Handcrafted furniture, collections of ancient artefacts and works of art such as paintings, embroideries, sculptures, and objects used in daily life all bear witness to Montreal’s rural heritage since the 17th century.
The Museum takes great care in restoring and preserving its collection and it buildings.
While drawing inspiration from the distinctive styles of their provinces of origin, the newcomers surrounded themselves with furniture adapted to the climate and the materials available.
Slowly, homes began being furnished with varied useful pieces of furniture: chests, cupboards, sideboards, dressers, hutches, chairs, tables, benches, stools, armchairs, clocks, everyday objects and decorations.
Change in tastes resulted in decorations and pieces of furniture in very different styles: Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI, neoclassical, Victorian, etc.
Weight-driven clock and pendulum1194.147 – Weight-driven clock and pendulum. The mechanism was made in France and the pine wood case is from New France. A metal plate inscribed “1698” surmounts three dials showing the date, hour, minutes and seconds.
ChestThe chest is the oldest item in our furniture collection. Prior to the 16th century, furniture was extremely limited, even in Europe. Chests were used to store clothing, silverware and food.
Toilet seat1994.0655 – Toilet seat dating back to the end of the 19thcentury used only by the well-to-do. During the 17th century, this predecessor of our toilets was referred to as a potty chair. In the 18th century it was called a commode chair. Made of cherry wood or pine, the seat had an opening in which to place a pot.
Prie-dieu1994.2766 – Prie-dieu sculpted with floral motifs. Both the kneeler and armrest are covered with burgundy velvet. Mont Sainte-Marie, mid 19th century (I.S.D)
Louis XIII style chair1994.13 – Louis XIII style chair with back and arm rests and maple wood twisted stretchers. Inventories dating as far back as 1657 list this item under different names including armchair.
The museum’s collection includes several examples of decorative, graphic and religious art.
These objects are privileged witnesses of the expertise of the artisans and creativity of the artists. They illustrate different techniques using various materials including wood, metal, ceramic, glass, textiles, etc.
Medallions1994.88 et 1994.89 – Medallions from the second half of the 17th century representing Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. This pair of bas-reliefs on a blue background dotted with gold stars is made of plaster, sculpted wood and gold leaf. Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700) received these works in 1671 from Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683), Louis XIV’s minister. This gift is accompanied by a letter authorizing her to found the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, a teaching religious community established canonically in 1698.
Latin cross1994.292 – Latin cross treflee with a medallion containing a relic of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys. Reliquary made in honour of her beatification by Pope Pius XII on November 12, 1950.
Painter1998.31 – The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, by the French painter of Dutch origin, Jean-Baptiste Van Loo (1684-1745). In the foreground of this oil on canvas is the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus in her arms. In the background are cherubs, Jesus’s father, Joseph, and an angel watching over them.
Altar decoration1994.0521 – Altar decoration attributed to Pierre Le Ber. From the 17th century, religious art was mainly found in churches which represented prime places for artistic expression. The high altar, on the axis of the church, is the focal point.
Our Lady with Glass Eyes1994.1432 – Our Lady with Glass Eyes, 19th century papier-mâché statue representing the Immaculate Conception created in the workshop of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal. The Grey Nuns perfected the art of papier-mâché statuary.
Human beings are creatures of communication. Over the centuries, objects of communication have been created as expressions of human thoughts.
Among the objects in the museum’s collection, we find objects of written communication such as books and post cards. It also contains objects of sound communication such as bells, clappers, rattles and a speaking trumpet.
Universal Pharmacopoeia1994.1152 – Universal Pharmacopoeia, by Nicola Lemery, 1738. Donated by Monsieur de Saint-Onge in 1770 for the apothecary of the Congregation of Notre Dame. It contains recipes for preparing plant-based medicines. Among the information it provides we find which fruits are rich in vitamin C to cure scurvy, a rose water treatment for migraines, a syrup to help treat liver diseases and an ointment for inflammations of the eyes.
Bronze bell1994.2344 – Bronze bell mounted on an octagonal base with finely worked points of geometrical motifs. Other than their symbolic value, bells rank among the most widespread methods of communication in history.
Wood clapper1994.1348 – Wood clapper inlaid with mother-of-pearl and metal, first half of the 19th century. It began being used in classrooms in the 17th century. It was also used during religious ceremonies in place of liturgical bells.
Good Friday rattle1994.2335 – Good Friday rattle, beginning of the 20th century. This small instrument has a serrated reel and a flexible wooden tongue that makes a particular sound when it turns on its handle. This one was used during Holy Week in place of the bells. It is also considered a toy and a percussion instrument.
Speaking trumpet1994.1023 – Speaking trumpet made of tin measuring 149 cm, dating back to the 18th century. Also called a fog horn, this one was used by the sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame until the 1950s.
We can hardly count on iconography to depict the clothing of the first settlers of New France. Clothing, unlike furniture and tools, is not durable.
During the twenty years following the founding of Ville-Marie, the clothing of its inhabitants resembled that worn in France.
Even if everyone recognized that Canadian attire was better suited to the country, it was not worn by all men. For their part, women continued to copy the clothes worn in France. It was only after 1663 that there was a radical change, adapted to the country.
Baptismal dress1997.0120.001 – Baptismal dress (1900) in ivory silk crepe, embroidered with floral motifs and adorned with flowers and satin ribbons. This beautiful dress was worn by the children of the Albert and Lionel Farineau families. Regardless of social class, everyone took care to decorate baptismal garments with lace and embroidery.
Ceremonial cloak1994.0559 – Ceremonial cloak worn by the Sulpicians during religious holidays. This damask cope decorated with silk and silver threads is the creation of the famous recluse, Jeanne Le Ber between 1680 and 1714. She was known for her beautiful embroidery work.
Wedding dress1994.1930.1-2 – Irish crochet wedding dress and knee-length jacket made of ecru cotton lace. Made by hand in the early 1900s in Paris. Donated by C.H. Lalonde (Jeannette Lahaye), a student at Mont Sainte-Marie from 1910 to 1916.
Leather and fabric shoes1994.0234.1-2 – Leather and fabric shoes, made by Hope Lady’s Shoes, London. Worn in 1781 by Seigneuresse Boudreault de Berthier on the day of her wedding.
In New France, no house is complete without certain everyday objects.
Among them, we find objects used for heating, lighting, cooking and cleaning.
All of them can be found in both modest and affluent households. However, some items are reserved for the privileged few such as administrators, the military and merchants.