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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Linda Lapointe, SMQ
Céline Lapointe, SMQ
Marie Trouis, SMQ
Nathalie Boudreau, Boléro Marketing
Final French texts
Terry Knowles, Pamela Ireland
Studio du Ruisseau © Société des musées du Québec
Except those with a different credit.
The Campaign Museum Routes for exploring New France was produced with the financial support of the following partners :
We wish to thank the following institutions without whose help this project could never have been completed :