Montreal museums for history buffs

things to do in old montreal

Often regarded as Canada’s cultural capital, Montréal doesn’t lack in the museum department. From Old Montréal’s mysterious streets to the bustling downtown, the city boasts over 12 history museums, each focusing on different stretches of Montréal’s rich history.


Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History

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A renowned archaeological site, the museum was built over Montréal’s birthplace, which is beautifully showcased in the museum’s permanent exhibition.

Écomusée du fier monde

Housed inside a former public bath built in the 1920s, this history and community museum focuses on the Industrial Revolution and working-class citizens who once populated the neighbourhood.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site

This historic home commemorates the accomplishments of Cartier, an important Father of Confederation. It is the only Victorian-style interior open to the public in Montréal.

Musée Stewart

As one of Canada’s most prestigious cultural sites, the Stewart Museum commemorates the influence of European civilisation on the 500-year history of New France and North America.

Montréal Holocaust Memorial Centre

Entirely dedicated to Holocaust education and awareness, the Centre provides tools to fight racism and promote respect for diversity through several commemorative programmes.

Centre d’histoire de Montréal

The Centre d’histoire de Montréal focuses on the events and figures that shaped Montréal’s fascinating path; the Scandal! Vice, Crime and Morality in Montréal exhibition is dedicated to the city’s once thriving illegal cabarets.

Château Ramezay Museum

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This prestigious 18th-century residence, originally built for Claude de Ramezay, then Governor of Montréal, was the first building to be recognised as a historical moment and is the province’s oldest private history museum. Fun fact: Benjamin Franklin was a guest there in 1776.

Maison Saint-Gabriel Museum and Historic Site

Located in lesser-known Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood, Maison Saint-Gabriel is one of the finest remaining examples of New France architecture; it is dedicated to preserving the history and artefacts of the settlers who put down roots there in the mid-1600s.

Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal

The Musée des Hospitalières traces the history of nurse (and co-founder of Montréal) Jeanne-Mance, and her mission to evangelise the Natives of New France and establish a hospital on the island of Montréal.

McCord Museum

Dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of Canadian history, the McCord Museum was founded in 1921 with David Ross McCord’s family collection; it now houses over 35,000 artefacts and 1 million photographs.

Cité historia – Musée d’histoire du Sault-au-Récollet

Off-centered but fascinating, Cité historia comprises of historic 250-year old mills, as well as the oldest extant church in Montréal, which played a major role in Amerindian history. The museum also has a waterside bistro with a lovely patio.

Centre d’exposition La Prison-des-Patriotes

Located within the walls of Montréal’s old prison, the Centre’s guided visits recall the Rebellions of 1837-1838 through insightful and informative exhibitions.