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Past exhibits

From May 2017 to December 2017
375 years at the heart of the action!

375 years at the heart of the action!Since its founding, Montréal was profoundly marked by the contribution of the female religious communities. Women of action, they worked as teachers, nurses, missionaries, architects, musicians, etc. They provided the first services to the people and structured the foundations of our modern social system. This exhibit highlights the diversity, occasionally surprising, of their involvement in the Montréal community and the scope of their heritage. What became of them? Are they still present in the heart of the city?

From May 2016 to December 2016
Curiosities and Treasures

Curiosities and TreasuresMaison Saint-Gabriel is highlighting 50 years of museum life with a new exhibit: Curiosities and Treasures. This exhibit includes remarkable objects and works, selected for the history they reveal. Some of them have belonged to the Congrégation de Notre-Dame for more than 300 years and others made their way into the museum’s collection under fascinating circumstances, but they all have a major significance for history. An exceptional collection!

From May 2015 to December 2015
The Canadian horse, a unique breed

A Canadian horse, a unique breedBetween 1665 and 1671, about 82 horses arrived in New France. Raised in isolation, their descendants adapted perfectly to the difficult climate of Canada and created a new species, the Canadian horse. The horse population grew rapidly, reaching roughly 14,000 in 1763. This exhibit highlights the 350th anniversary of this historic event.

From May 2014 to December 2014
Starting a family

Starting a familyMission accomplished for the King’s Wards! In 1700, the population of New France tripled and, for the first time, the number of settlers born in the country exceeded the number of immigrants who came from France. Yet, in this new country, life was not easy. Inventive and tenacious, the King’s Wards used all of their talents to bring their children into this world, raise them and educate them. Proud to be starting a family!

From May 2013 to December 2013
Venture into the New World

Venture into the New WorldThe King’s Wards boarded ships at La Rochelle Harbour for the long crossing, which would last three months! Where did they come from? Who were they? What was their dowry? What would their destiny be?

From May 2012 to December 2012
Two of a kind

Two of a kindObjects of seduction, work and comfort, shoes reflect the evolution of customs and fashion. From the moccasin to the ballerina slipper, not to mention the French-Canadian boot, this educational exhibit traces the history of shoes in Québec, with a glance at 21st-century fashion.

From May 2011 to December 2011
Pewter: an alloy of art and life

Pewter: an alloy of art and lifeThroughout the 17th century and up to the early 19th century, pewter was the material most often used to make small tableware items for serving, pouring, eating and drinking. The museum has a major pewter collection which it is unveiling in this new exhibit.

From May 2010 to December 2010
Glass Cycles

Glass CyclesAt the crossroads of art and industry, the Glass cycles exhibit traces the history of glass in Montréal, from the time of handcrafted objects to the industrial production that started in the 19th century. Since that time, glass objects have invaded our daily lives. Precious or common-place, they can be re-used or recycled at the end of their life, and serve yet again. The exhibit focuses on glass, the glass industry and glass recycling, through the history of the plant, which has been located, since 1905, on land that formerly belonged to Maison Saint-Gabriel, in Pointe-Saint-Charles.

From May 2009 to December 2009
Silver Magic…

Silver Magic…For the very first time, Maison Saint-Gabriel is displaying its silver collection, linking the work of contemporary silversmiths and traditional methods. Approximately 50 pieces will be displayed, the oldest dating back to 1695 and the most recent made in 2001. French pieces from the 17th century, domestic silverware and Quebec masterpieces... These beautiful objects have a wonderful history to tell.

From May 2008 to December 2008
The Gardens of History – 1608-1760

The Gardens of History – 1608-1760This history of gardens started during a period when botanical knowledge was in full bloom. The inhabitants of the St. Lawrence Valley discovered another kind of nature, rich in unknown plants, but in an area where the climate was harsh. They brought their own plants, their seeds and their know-how with them. It was a conflict between two worlds, with the settlers’ need to feed and care for themselves in the background. What took place in the 17th and 18th centuries in the gardens of farmhouses, convents, apothecaries, nobles and colonists?

From May 2007 to December 2007
An Iron in Time

An Iron in TimeFrom China to North America, the iron has a full history, which has been influenced by developments in fabrics, fashion and technology. This exhibit takes you through a universe that speaks of inventions, lifestyles, the art of ironing… and art for its own sake.

From May 2006 to December 2006
Practice Makes Perfect…

Practice Makes Perfect…Quebec artists of the 18th and 19th centuries manufactured works of art with modesty, perseverance and a formidable sense of the esthetic. They created a unique style, providing a source to re-launch the decorative arts of the 20th century.

From May 2005 to December 2005
A Happy Threesome

A Happy ThreesomeA Happy Threesome, or how nature inspired art and poetry here, from the time of New France to the present. A harmonious, lasting threesome that has survived through the centuries brilliantly. Presented in the exhibit room in the barn, A Happy Threesome takes on its full meaning as part of the museum’s exceptional site. With its abundant flowers and the farmhouse garden recreated in the style of the 17th century, the site provides an excellent illustration of all aspects of the creative force of nature.

From May 2004 to December 2004
Between Heaven and Hell

Between Heaven and HellWith its new exhibit for 2004, Maison Saint-Gabriel turns a page in the history of Quebec that is rarely examined... that of the daily lives of the thousands of people who determinedly applied themselves to saving their souls. The exhibit Between Heaven and Hell traces the popular rituals, practices and beliefs of the past centuries: pilgrimages to brotherhoods, an entire wealth of devotions that guaranteed those who practiced them a means to find the path to heaven and avoid a trip to hell.

Living in the here and now or living for eternal salvation... a matter of philosophy, personal choice, and also social pressure that influenced each and every one. Over the past centuries in Montreal, a city founded with an evangelical mission, the choice was clear and undeniable: people had to live and, above all, save their souls.

However, in daily life, pragmatism and personal tastes took precedence, adding colour, life and occasionally spectacular mystery to all the rituals. It is this popular aspect that the new 2004 exhibit prepared by Maison Saint-Gabriel highlights. It will remind the most senior about a time when pilgrimages and processions provided an intense expression of faith. The exhibit Between Heaven and Hell evokes the worship of the Saints and the Holy Virgin, the way in which life was lived prior to a time when stardom has become so popular. It lifts the veil from the brotherhoods, which are still covered in mystery. It reveals the small pious gestures performed day in and day out in an effort to earn a place in paradise.

From May 2003 to December 2003
On the school benches of French North America

On the school benches of French North AmericaFrom May 8 to December 19, 2003, Maison Saint-Gabriel will host its new traveling exhibit: On the school benches of French North America. This exhibit traces, with a teacher’s hand, the adventure of French schooling in North America from the time the first colonists arrived in the 17th century. It brings to life the day-to-day experience of “small schools” and shows us how the school has been and still is the reflection of our society.

In the 17th century, you were knowledgeable if you could read, write and count. And education wasn’t for everyone... In France, in an effort to promote literacy, the clerics and the teaching communities initiated “small schools”, and women, for the most part, worked to make them both free and public.

Two women also played a major role in establishing schools in New France. In 1639, Marie de l'Incarnation opened the first teaching institution in New France, at the Ursulines’ convent in Quebec City. In 1658, Marguerite Bourgeoys opened the first school in Ville-Marie. It was a co-educational school where children received instruction in the catechism, for the first time in French instead of Latin. The children also learned to read and, if they remained long enough, to write and count. “And as for writing, it will merely make poor girls waste time that they could put to use for other things.” (Jeanne LeBer) Obviously, these “other things” included household chores “ ...and other types of work appropriate for their persons and their condition, teaching them how to behave properly and make their own clothing.”

Thus, in 1668, when Marguerite Bourgeoys purchased Maison Saint-Gabriel, she first opened a sewing room, the “ouvroir de la Providence”, which was a type of housekeeping school where twenty young girls from Ville-Marie learned to keep house, embroider and spin wool.

Over the centuries, the “small” French school extended from Acadia to the Canadian West, generally under the supervision of the religious communities. The idea of knowledge and school developed as society changed. In 1960, education was deconfessionalized. Yet, today, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, the community founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys, continues to play an important role in the education of women, throughout the world.

From May 2002 to December 2002
A rose by another name...

A rose by another name...Celebrated by poets, artists and artisans, the rose is truly the queen of flowers. It is an important symbol in the Christian faith and its fragrance has inspired great chefs, apothecaries and chemists. The rose has so much to tell...

From May 2001 to December 2001
One child... one dream

One child... one dreamParents have always dreamed of a better life for their children. Dreams of education, of happiness and of a long, healthy life. This exhibition captures these dreams from times past until now and surveys the education given to ‘Canadian’ and ‘Indian’ children in the old days.

From the very beginning of the colony, the way children were reared here differed dramatically from traditional French educational methods based on fears. In 1706, district administrator Jacques Raudot wrote: “Like the Savages, the inhabitants of this country have feelings of foolish tenderness for their children and therefore cannot properly discipline them and make them into honourable men.”

Maison Saint-Gabriel explores those two worlds and ways of living that have profoundly influenced one another. Discover what the first settlers and the Iroquois and Algonguin cultures believed about childhood and what their customs were, from the time of their marriage to the birth of the first child, and then through their children’s tender years. You will see how these customs and beliefs interacted.

From May 2000 to December 2000
The Mark of Time

The Mark of TimeThe Mark of Time features traditional architecture under the French Regime and one of the 17th century’s most significant examples of the style: Maison Saint-Gabriel. Discover its inner beauty.

This exhibition wa organized in association with l’École d’architecture de l’Université de Montréal and the CAO research group and was possible by the financial assistance of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec and the Service de la Culture of the Ville de Montréal.

From May 1999 to December 1999
The bell invites me...

The bell invites me...Quite apart from their symbolic meanings, bells probably hold the world record for the most widely heard means of communication.

Bells announce both the happy and unhappy events. They warn of danger. They regulate and embellish our lives. They are always talking to us.

Bells speak a very precise language. Do we understand them?