Collections and Research
The photography collection encompasses over 1,300,000 photographs that primarily document the social history of Montreal, as well as that of Quebec and Canada. From a series of daguerreotypes created in the 1840s to modern digital images, this collection spans numerous time periods.
The Notman Photographic Archives constitute the heart of the collection with some 400,000 photographs from the Montreal studio founded in 1856 by William Notman (1826-1891) and run by his sons until 1935 under the name Wm. Notman & Son. Comprised of glass negatives and original prints, stereograms, composites and painted photographs, this part of the collection depicts Canada’s growth during the latter half of the 19th century, Montreal’s leading role in its social and economic development, westward expansion and the construction of the transcontinental railway.
Notman Photographic Archives are listed on UNESCO’s Canada Memory of the World Register.
The collection also contains thousands of photographs grouped together in albums, series and portfolios, created by professionals, amateurs and artists, including vernacular photographs and images of First Peoples.
As a complement to these photographs, the Museum owns a number of cameras and accessories that illustrate the technical evolution of photography, along with viewing devices like stereoscopes, magic lanterns and modern projectors that demonstrate how photography was used in Canada.
The Standard Life – Notman Fund provides annual financing for the care and diffusion of the Notman Collection.
To discover in the collection
- Capturing history – Daniel Kieffer
- Stories of confinement: A photographic mission
- Using psychology to interpret photography
- A one-of-a-kind donation! – Allard collection
- The Notman Photographic Archives on UNESCO’s Canada Memory of the World Register
- Michel Campeau – A confluence of exhibition and collection
- What’s in a title? Researching a Notman Studio Photograph
- Notman, creator of the first halftone
Meet the curator Hélène Samson and learn more about her expertise and what she does.
Explore this collection
Not to be missed!
Be part of history!
Do you have an object, document or photograph that you wish to give to the Museum?Learn more
SUPPORT YOUR MUSEUM
Make a donation now and contribute to the fundraising campaign.Contribute