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About the Museum

History

Inaugurated in 1921, the McCord embodies the vision of a passionate collector, David Ross McCord, whose abiding wish was to shed light on the history and cultures of his country and thus bring its people together.

A Museum Born of a Montrealer’s Dream

In 1878, David Ross McCord began adding to the already considerable collection assembled by his family since their arrival in Canada. Sparing neither time nor money, he combed the length and breadth of the country in search of the finest and most historically significant objects. Gradually, a plan began to take shape in his mind: that of founding a national history museum in Montreal, Canada’s metropolis at the time.

On October 13, 1921, the McCord National Museum opened its doors, housed in a building provided by McGill University. Both its collection and its reputation grew rapidly.

A Museum Supported by Montrealers

The citizens of Montreal, heirs to the passion of David Ross McCord, encouraged the Museum’s development. McGill University administered the McCord for over sixty years, until it became a private museum. Leading members of the community, including the families of Walter M. Stewart, T.H.P. Molson and J. W. McConnell, lent their steadfast and generous support to the Museum’s various activities and, with additional government backing, made possible the recent renovation of its building. Today, the McCord is supported by the governments of Canada, Quebec and Montreal, and by a large network of members, donors and sponsors.

A Museum for all Montrealers

David Ross McCord wanted to make history accessible to all. His dream has become the McCord’s mission – a mission whose importance is reaffirmed each year by more than 150 thousands of visitors.

Two museums join

On July 1, 2013, the McCord Museum and the Stewart Museum signed a merger agreement. Both institutions continue to operate publicly under their respective names and maintain their activities as before. However, initiatives have already begun to consolidate their administrations, integrate their collections and share knowledge in order to maximize synergies. This agreement marks an historic moment for the two Museums; it assures their sustainability and offer new opportunities for their development and the promotion of their collections.

McCord Museum merges with Fashion Museum

On January 23, 2018, The McCord Museum and the Fashion Museum announced their merger. With a shared mission to preserve and promote Quebec and Canadian costume, fashion and textiles, the two institutions have decided that joining forces will enable them to more effectively fulfil this role. The Fashion Museum, which officially closed December 31, 2017, thus becomes part of the McCord Stewart Museum. Its collection of over 7,000 garments, accessories and textiles will enrich that of the McCord Museum, which already comprises over 20,000 such objects. The online integration of the Fashion Museum’s collection will be carried out gradually in the year 2018.

Montreal to Welcome New Downtown Museum

On April 1, 2019 the McCord Stewart Museum announced that its planned new museum will be located in the heart of downtown Montreal. The new establishment will expand the McCord Museum’s current site by building on Victoria Street, which runs along the west side of the Museum, and the lot housing the former Caveau restaurant on President Kennedy Avenue. The combined area of these sites will enable the museum to meet its needs for additional space and create an institution that will leave its mark on Montreal’s urban and cultural landscape.

Working closely with the City of Montreal, which is granting the right to build on Victoria Street, the Museum selected the site after conducting a feasibility study. The new building will house three recently merged museums—the McCord Museum, the Stewart Museum and the Fashion Museum—under a single roof. This legacy project will create a world-class institution for generations of Montrealers.

The McCord Stewart Museum also announced that La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso had pledged to donate the extraordinary sum of $15 million towards the project. It is the largest single private monetary
donation to a Quebec museum in over 30 years. In 1987, the J.W. McConnell Foundation donated $50 million to the McCord Museum for its expansion and the creation of an endowment to preserve its collection.

Learn more about this project

 

  • The McCord Museum in 1992, following a major expansion of the Nobbs building.
  • The Museum's second home, from 1955 to 1968, was the former residence of A.A. Hodgson. MP-0000.1594
  • The McCord reopened its doors to the public in the spring of 1971 in the newly renovated former McGill Union, designed in 1906 by Percy E. Nobbs, View-4848
  • Officially inaugurated on October 13, 1921, the McCord Museum was first housed in the former residence of the prominent Montreal financier Jesse Joseph. MP-0000.181.4.2

90 Treasures, 90 Stories, 90 Years

In the spring of 2011, to celebrate its 90th anniversary, the Museum presented 90 carefully selected objects, which allowed one to discover Montreal.

Discover the treasures

Not to be missed!