During our stay in Montreal, we were staying a few hundred meters from the McCord Museum. Eager to learn more about the first nations who lived on the territory that is now called Canada, we logically made the short trip to visit the museum.
Discover some practical information to simplify your future visit to the McCord Museum and our opinion.
The McCord Museum is dedicated to Aboriginal history
Founded by David Ross McCord, the McCord Museum is a museum dedicated to native history. This is the term used in Quebec to name the people who lived on the territory before English and French colonization. They are also called “the First Peoples”.
If you go to the McCord Museum website, you will discover that there are other collections in the museum, but the native cultures are really the ones that are highlighted.
You discover how they lived before colonization: family customs, different tribes, ancestral hunting, rules in the group…
Then, another part shares their history after the colonization. The colonists considered them as inferior people, the power of the chiefs was fought, reduced to nothing and everything was done to suppress the customs of the survivors and to Christianize them.
Objects displayed in the McCord Museum
I won’t mention the non-Native collections, as we only saw this one.
Among the objects seen at the McCord Museum, I can mention:
- Period clothing: moccasins, snowshoes, boots, pants, Qulittuq (very warm suit), shoe covers, mittens…
- Chief’s hairstyles (impressive!)
- Hunting and fishing equipment
- Musical instruments
- Crockery and cutlery
There are also portraits and photographs taken by the first settlers, as well as copies of official documents containing laws and directives concerning the treatment of Natives.
According to the figures given in the McCord Museum’s website, the collection includes nearly 7,000 objects.
Where is the McCord Museum in Montreal?
The exact address of the McCord Museum is 690 Sherbrooke Street in Montreal. It is close to Mont Royal and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Since we were sleeping on Maisonneuve Boulevard, we came on foot. If you come by public transportation, you can either take the metro green line and stop at McGill station, or the bus 24.
By car, there are a few paid parking lots around Victoria and President Kennedy.
How much costs a McCord Museum ticket?
The standard price for admission to the McCord Museum is:
- $19 (Canadian dollars) for an adult
- $17 for a senior citizen (65+)
- $14 for a student
- Free for teenagers and children under 17 years old.
With Amelie, we took advantage of a free admission. If you visit the museum at the end of the day on Wednesday evening, the native culture part is free between 5 and 9 p.m. There is an admission fee of $9.50 only if you want to see the other exhibitions.
Admission is also free every first Sunday of the month.
It is free every day for native people (Inuit, Métis and First Nations) upon presentation of a status card. I don’t know what this card looks like, but if you are one of those people, you will know.
What are the opening hours of the McCord Museum?
The hours are not the same every day:
- Monday: closed
- Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Wednesday: 10a.m. to 9p.m.
- Thursday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Friday: 10a.m. to 6p.m.
- Saturday: 10a.m. to 5p.m.
- Sunday: 10a.m. to 5p.m.
During the school break period and holidays (except Christmas and New Year’s), the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
How long does a visit to the McCord Museum last?
We took our time to visit the native cultures. We were less than 10 people, so we never had to wait to see an object.
Our tour lasted about 45 minutes.
I have no idea how it is when the museum is busy. But, even with a lot of people, you should rarely take more than an hour to visit this part.
For the other areas of the museum, we did not see them so I cannot give an opinion, but according to the museum, to view all of its works take between 1 and 2 hours.
Did we like the visit of the McCord Museum?
The native section is very rich when you are interested in the subject. I had already read books on the subject, but of course, I had never seen period objects in Europe.
Well organized, the museum displays the objects clearly and the signs really help to understand what each object was used for.
The truth is harsh about the impact of colonization on the First Peoples. Their culture was virtually wiped out, as it happens whenever one civilization conquers another. Nevertheless, I fear that the colonial repentance and woke culture that is sweeping across North America will end up overdoing it.
It is up to the visitor to understand the wrongdoing of the colonists’ actions, not the museum to write everywhere about how horrible white Europeans were.
I also see this museum as respect and admiration for the native peoples who have been able to live and thrive in a hostile world. To imagine living under the snow, with winds at minus 40 degrees, with reduced equipment is an exceptional feat.
Even though we were given a free ticket, I think the price charged for a standard admission to the McCord Museum is low. You see objects that you won’t see anywhere else. Plus, the museum continues to pick up new authentic objects and the collection grows every year.
If you are only in Montreal for one day, you will probably have other things to do first. But, if you’re here for several days, if you’re interested in history or just want to know more about the First Peoples, this is the museum to do in Quebec.