The Société des musées du Québec invites you to combine the past and present

Get ready to discover Quebec history as you’ve never experienced it before. There were vast territories to explore, alliances and trade treaties to negotiate with First Nations, bitter winters to survive, towns and cities to dream of, build, defend and rebuild, mills to set turning, institutions to found … Quebec’s settlers faced lots of challenges. Like them, the museums presented in these pages have adventurous spirits and no shortage of ambition: they present history that’s sure to move, challenge and inspire you. Whether you’re visiting them on your own, with your family or friends, you’re bound to come away with great new memories!

Putting down the roots of a shared history

The story of New France began when Jacques Cartier from St. Malo, in France, stepped ashore on the Gaspé Peninsula in 1534. French explorers went on to carry their language and culture from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Mississippi delta, the Appalachians and the Great Lakes. The battle of the Plains of Abraham, in 1759, put an end to the French Regime. But French itself remains alive and well in North America.

Learn about a little-known religious heritage

Right from the birth of New France, religious communities played a vital role in the colony’s development. Missions, schools and hospitals, chapels, churches, convents and seminaries – all of them recollected today in attractive, peaceful sites and buildings. When designing your MUSEUM ROUTE, make sure to include a stop at these splendid sites and exhibitions recounting inspiring tales from the early days of New France, often with women as the lead characters.

Exciting, fascinating MUSEUM EXPERIENCES!

These museums have devised some irresistible activities for you. Are you interested in archaeology? Fond of art? Fascinated by the work of craftspeople? Wish your children could have as much fun as you do exploring a theme, a fabulous collection or the architecture of a heritage building? Interactive exhibitions, history-themed presentations, traditional foods, multimedia shows, virtual (or real!) archaeological digs, workshops and lots of other experiences await you. Go for it!

Care to step OUTSIDE?

Take a stroll through a flower garden or a fragrant vegetable plot. Watch a demonstration or listen to a storyteller or a music recital outdoors, meet a historic character, taste bread fresh out of a wood-fired oven … so many charming experiences! Many of these museums are located next to green spaces where you can stretch your legs or have a picnic. Get even more out of your museum route by including some gift shops and restaurants.

New France was founded on energy, inventiveness and hospitality – qualities that are alive and well today, and these museums are proud and happy to share them with you.

So hoist your sails and set off in search of new and authentic experiences, fun, good times and the unexpected.

Bon voyage as you explore New France!


Project Manager
Linda Lapointe, SMQ

Céline Lapointe, SMQ
Marie Trouis, SMQ

Nathalie Boudreau, Boléro Marketing

Final French texts
Annick Poussart

Terry Knowles, Pamela Ireland

Studio du Ruisseau © Société des musées du Québec

Except those with a different credit.

Technical production

Graphic design

Financial support
The Campaign Museum Routes for exploring New France was produced with the financial support of the following partners :

  • Ministère du Tourisme
  • Ministère de la Culture et des Communications

We wish to thank the following institutions without whose help this project could never have been completed :

  • Îlot des Palais, historic and archaeological site
  • Le Monastère des Augustines
  • Musée de la civilisation
  • Musée de l'Amérique francophone
  • Musée de la place Royale
  • Musée des Ursulines de Québec
  • Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
  • Château Ramezay - Historic site and museum of Montréal
  • Maison Saint-Gabriel, historic site and museum
  • Musée des hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal
  • Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys / Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel
  • Musée Stewart
  • Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex
  • Canadian Museum of History