Pointe-à-Callière Museum (official name: Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History) (French: Pointe-à-Callière, Musée d’archéologie et d’histoire de Montréal) is a museum dedicated to the history and archaeology of Montreal. The museum lies on the site of the founding of Montreal: Pointe-à-Callière. Designated a National Historic Site, the very birthplace of Montreal, Pointe-à-Callière is a spectacular museum built atop an authentic archaeological site. Inaugurated on May 17, 1992 as part of the celebration of the 350th anniversary of Montreal, it aims to maintain and enhance the archaeological heritage of Montreal. It is the only major archaeology museum in Canada.
Set on a site bearing evidence to over 1,000 years of human activities and on the very birthplace of Montreal, Pointe-à-Callière houses and protects remarkable archaeological remains. It is the largest archaeology museum in Canada, and is the second most popular museum in Montreal ( Only the Museum of Fine Arts draws more crowds). From the basement, converted into an original educational space for young visitors and future archaeologists, all the way up to the rooftop 360˚ Montréal Space and its stunning view of Old Montreal, the entire building is designed to teach visitors about the history of Montreal through archaeology.
Since May 17, 1992, Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History has fulfilled a two-fold mission: showcasing the archaeological heritage of Montreal and other lands to bring visitors to know and appreciate the Montreal of yesterday and today, through education, conservation and research activities revolving around Montreal’s archaeological and historical heritage. The museum celebrates local and international historical and archaeological heritage through permanent and temporary exhibitions, publications, conferences and lectures and a wide variety of educational and cultural activities. The museum displays archaeological remains from every period in the city’s past, and the sites it protects have produced one of the largest archaeological collections in Canada. The museum has collections of artifacts 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.
The hundreds of artifacts the museum houses are grouped into six main sections: the Éperon, a modern building that has won many architectural awards; the archaeological crypt on the lower level; the renovated Ancienne-Douane building (Montreal’s first Custom House), the Youville Pumping Station, the Archaeological Field School and the Mariners’ House. The museum complex comprises three archaeological sites: Pointe-à-Callière, Place Royale and 214 Place d’Youville. Some of the highlights of the museum include:
- Yours Truly, Montréal: An immersive multimedia show the presents a fascinating trip through time projected over 270o atop authentic remains. You’ll be thrilled as you experience some of the highlights in the city’s turbulent history. This multimedia show is available in 8 languages.
- Pirates or Privateers?: An Interactive exhibition that follows Montreal privateer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and invites young visitors to sign on as crew members and climb aboard his ship, the D’Iberville, to defend New France! Youngsters from 6 to 12 and even younger will love this introduction to the exciting life of a privateer in the 17th and 18th centuries, when Ville-Marie was the hub of the fur trade.
- The archaeo-adventure workshop: Do you have what it takes to be an archaeologist? with this exhibition, visitors can try their hands at a dig site, in the archaeologist’s tent and back in the laboratory. Grab your trowel and brush or your surveying tools and pencils, and get ready for an experience full of surprises!
Since it opened, Pointe-à-Callière has won over 80 awards. Because it is able to meet the most stringent conservation and exhibition standards, the Museum has had the privilege of displaying numerous rare objects that had never before left their countries of origin, It receives more than 350,000 visitors annually.