Material Culture - McCord Museum

Collections and Research

Powder horn, 1759. Gift of David Ross McCord, M6935 © McCord Museum

Material Culture

The Material Culture collection consists of some 41,000 objects that primarily document the material environment within which Montrealers, and more broadly Quebecers and Canadians, have lived for the past three centuries.

From a collection of objects associated with key Canadian historical figures, it has grown to encompass the material culture of domestic interiors, community life and consumption practices. Objects range from furniture, items related to food preparation and household decoration and management, hunting and sporting equipment, weapons, numismatic materials and objets d’art. They document the change from a pre-industrial world to one of mass-produced goods. Highlighting the tastes and needs of Montrealers from all socio-economic levels, these objects range from the mundane, such as locally produced stoneware, once essential for the home storage of foods, to the high-end, like imported Staffordshire pottery and porcelain.

The collection also bears witness to the evolution of childhood and play in Canada over three centuries, with extensive holdings of toys, including dolls, dollhouses, toy soldiers, games and board games.

The objects in the Material Culture collection reveal important clues about how Montrealers and Canadians lived, worked and played in centuries past.


  • Dinner plate made by Davenport, 1830-1840. MC988.1.69 © McCord Museum
  • Chest of drawers, 1750-1760. Gift of Mrs. Southam, M14500 © McCord Museum
  • Powder horn, 1759. Gift of David Ross McCord, M6935 © McCord Museum
  • Cup with the coat of arms of the Marquis de Montcalm, 1725-1756. Gift of David Ross McCord, M4839 © McCord Museum
  • Fashion doll and accessories, 1863-1866. Gift of Palazi-Raby family, M2010.10.1.1-200 © McCord Museum


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Digitization project - Ceramics and glassware

In March 2016, as part of the roll-out of the Plan culturel numérique du Québec, the McCord Museum received funding to digitize part of its Decorative Arts collection, notably ceramics and glassware.

To learn more about this project.

Guislaine Lemay

Guislaine Lemay, 2017 © Laura Dumitriu

Meet the curator Guislaine Lemay and learn more about her expertise and what she does.

Explore this collection

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