Pointe-à-Callière Museum

Pointe-à-Callière Museum is the Montreal museum of archaeology and history located in Old Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was founded in 1992 as part of celebrations to mark Montreal's 350th birthday. Set atop the city's birthplace, the Museum shows collections of artefacts from the First Nations of the Montreal region that illustrate how various cultures coexisted and interacted, and how the French and British regimes influenced the history of this territory over the years. Pointe-à-Callière has been recognized as a national historic site since 1998.

Since it opened, it has welcomed more than 350,000 visitors a year. Nearly 4.5 million people have come to the Museum since 1992. Pointe-à-Callière has been honoured with more than fifty national and international awards.

Buildings

The Museum is a complex of historic buildings comprising:

  • Three archaeological sites: Pointe-à-Callière, Place Royale and 214 Place d'Youville - the archaeological field school - Fort Ville-Marie
  • A historic site: the birthplace of Montreal
  • Montreal's first Catholic cemetery
  • The William collector sewer
  • A classified historic building: Montreal's first Custom House
  • A contemporary building: the Éperon building, designed by Dan Hanganu.
  • An archaeological crypt: Place Royale
  • A heritage building: the former Youville Pumping Station
  • 165-169 Place d’Youville – a functional building: the Mariners House
  • Vast archaeological collections (over a million objects)
Mission

Pointe-à-Callière's mission is to safeguard and showcase Montreal's archaeological and historical heritage, to bring Montrealers and tourists from other parts of Canada and other lands to know and appreciate the Montreal of today and yesterday, and to forge bonds with local communities and regional, national and international networks concerned with archaeology, history and urban issues, for the benefit of our visitors.

Pointe-à-Callière safeguards and showcases archaeological remains from every period in the city's past. The archaeological sites it protects have produced one of the largest archaeological collections in Canada. The Museum's staff has expertise in research, conservation, outreach activities and managing archaeology and history. In partnership with universities, it is conducting a research program on the city's archaeology and history, and its ethnohistorical collections include artifacts and documents donated by Montrealers. The Museum’s mission also extends to the city's built and industrial heritage. It endeavours to make Montrealers aware of their far-off and recent past, their heritage of today and yesterday, and everyone's important role in preserving and promoting our collective heritage.

Along with its permanent exhibitions, since it opened the Museum has presented more than thirty temporary exhibitions on themes relating to local and international archaeology, history and heritage, culture and artistic creativity, and multiculturalism. Complementing this exhibition program are education and outreach programs and cultural activities that introduce school groups and the general public to other aspects of archaeology and history. Pointe-à-Callière also holds a number of popular cultural activities for the public, ranging from musical performances to theatre and demonstratio]ns, including lectures, debates and participation in Montreal, Quebec, cross-Canada and international events. Since it opened, the Museum has been working hand in hand with Native and cultural communities. For ceremonies commemorating the Great Peace of Montreal in 2001, the Museum’s main partners were aboriginal groups from across Quebec, the rest of Canada and the United States. Montreal's cultural communities are also the focus of many activities. All the Museum's actions are aimed at creating lasting links between newcomers and their host society and building awareness of the city's history and the vision and tenacity of its founders, who made Montreal a city open to the world.

Pointe-à-Callière has been extending its reach beyond its walls since 1996, beginning with Water In, Waste Out, its first travelling exhibition, presented at the Musée de la civilisation (Quebec City) and the Musée et sites archéologiques Saint-Romain-en-Gal (Vienne, France). In 1997, the Art and Archaeology exhibition gave 20 Montreal high school students a chance to exhibit their works at the Musée et sites archéologiques Saint-Romain-en-Gal. 1690: The Siege of Québec... The Story of a Sunken Ship has travelled to different locations in Quebec and internationally since 2000. France / New France. Birth of a French People in North America, which has already been presented in the Maritimes, will soon be leaving on an international tour. In addition, Pointe-à-Callière has an exhibition on underground Montreal as part of a cultural route in the underground pedestrian corridors of the Quartier international de Montréal.

Expansion project

Pointe-à-Callière was first built, back in the early 1990s. The Museum had plans to open up the William collector sewer and the remains of St. Anne's Market and the Parliament of the United Province of Canada. Recent archaeological digs have also brought to light the remains of Fort Ville-Marie and of Governor Louis-Hector de Callière’s home. The Museum is now entering a new phase in its development, as it moves toward putting these large-scale expansion plans into effect. The goal is to expose the Little Saint-Pierre River canalized by the William sewer, and the archaeological remains of St. Anne's Market, home to the Parliament of the United Province of Canada between 1844 and 1849. Visitors will be led to a new exhibition hall, with its entrance on McGill Street, devoted to future international exhibitions on ancient civilizations and their cultures. This ambitious expansion will allow Pointe-à-Callière to give the district a touristic exhibition centre of national and international scope.

Permanent exhibitions
  • Where Montréal Was Born
  • Montréal Love Stories – The Cultural Connection
  • A multimedia show: Montréal, Tales of a City…
Past temporary exhibitions
Major cultural activities
  • Pointe-à-Callière’s Port Symphonies
  • A Cultural Rendez-vous
  • The 18th Century Public Market
  • Halloween at Pointe-à-Callière
  • Who is the Real Santa Claus?
  • Exploring the Museum
  • Growing up in Ville-Marie
  • Life Stories
  • Montréal, an Urban Kaleidoscope
  • Young Explorers
  • Water Ways
Affiliations

The Museum is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.