Québec City’s Must-See Museums and Interpretation Centres
* NOTE: Museums will open gradually from February 8, 2021 (MNBAQ on February 10 and Musée de la civilisation on February 18). Please verify the schedule of the museum you want to visit ahead* Most museums have introduced mandatory online booking. It is best to check the websites and social media of each establishment before showing up.
While you’re in Québec City, treat yourself to a quick history lesson with a stop at some of these museum mainstays in the birthplace of French North America. Our museums and interpretation centres have been proudly preserved and restored to provide a captivating look at the city’s origins and storied past.
Musée de la civilisation
Jeff Frenette Photography
Located in the Lower Town of Old Québec, between Petit-Champlain and the Old Port, Musée de la civilisation is an eye-opening window onto different facets of the human condition. Explore prestigious international exhibitions and thought-provoking permanent exhibits in a visitor-friendly setting accessible to all. With special interactive displays for children and teens, there truly is something for everyone.
Pro tips: Head to the rooftop for great views of Old Québec, the St. Lawrence, and Île d’Orléans. On weekends, don’t miss the museum’s best-kept secret, the Once Upon a Time costume workshop. Kids love it!
Permanent exhibitions at Musée de la civilisation
- People of Québec... Then and Now: Explore Québec’s rich past and culture and discover the dreams and inspiring accomplishments of the people who have shaped the province’s history, from the first settlers to today.
- This is Our Story: Get acquainted with the Indigenous peoples who make Québec their home. See how their ways of life have evolved and learn about the cultural diversity of these nations and their demands and aspirations.
- Observe: There’s more to this family-friendly exhibition than meets the eye. Using your five senses to observe the world around you, see if you can make it through without missing anything. Parents and kids alike will have fun sharpening their all-important powers of observation.
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
Jeff Frenette Photography
The 4 buildings making up this museum complex sit where history was made on the Plains of Abraham in the Upper Town of Old Québec. The museum is home to over 38,000 works, the largest collection of art from Québec. Discover artists from Québec and abroad, a remarkable variety of old masterpieces and modern art, and the Family Gallery with exhibits and workshops for everyone. In the Charles-Baillairgé Pavilion you can even see the old jail cells, a reminder of the building’s history as a prison that stands in dramatic contrast with its vocation today.
You won’t want to leave without a bite to eat at the museum's restaurant, the light-filled restaurant, or outside in the warmth of the sun on the stunning MNBAQ terrace.
Permanent exhibitions at Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
- Jean-Paul Riopelle, Alfred Pellan, Fernand Leduc, and Jean-Paul Lemieux: Admire works by four of Québec’s modern art masters.
- Illipunga (Inuit art. The Brousseau Collection): The more than 100 works in this collection shed light on how the inhabitants of northern Canada interact with nature, animals, and the people in their community.
- Decorative arts and design in Québec: Delve into the methods of Québec artists and designers through this display of 145 objects created between 1950 and today.
- From Ferron to BGL – Contemporary art in Québec: See how Québec art has evolved since the profound social changes of the 1960s Quiet Revolution and discover leading figures from the province’s art scene.
- Jean-Paul Riopelle – Tribute to Rosa Luxembourg: Put this colossal fresco at the top of your must-see list! It’s a dazzling 40-metre-long display of Riopelle’s talent and spirit. Bonus: The fresco is in the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion, a favourite among Instagrammers.
Studio du Ruisseau
Monastère des Augustines
Steeped in history and heritage, the monastery was the first North American hospital outside of Mexico. Step inside to explore, and discover thousands of artifacts that trace the evolution of medicine. To make the most of your visit, tour the museum, enjoy a relaxing overnight stay in a simple yet comfortable room, refuel with a meal prepared by a chef renowned for healthy food, and join in a wellness workshop.
Permanent exhibition at Monastère des Augustines
Over the course of 375 years, the Augustine sisters amassed a remarkable collection of over 40,000 artifacts that tell us about the history of health care. Delve into the archives for unique insights into how medical instruments and know-how have evolved through the generations.
Royal 22e Régiment Museum at the Citadelle of Québec
Come inside the biggest British fortress ever built in North America to learn what life was like in the Canadian army’s only French-language infantry regiment.
Permanent exhibition at the Royal 22e Régiment museum
The Je me souviens permanent exhibition looks back on 100 years of regimental history through archival videos, moving personal stories, maps, and items on public view for the first time.
Plains of Abraham Museum
Be on the front lines at the Battles 1759-1760 exhibition for a close-up look at the famous Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The museum also features a uniform collection, a gripping immersive film presentation featuring historic eye-witness accounts, and fun interactive games for young visitors.
This museum in Wendake, a First Nations community near Québec City, is the perfect blend of today and yesteryear. Here visitors can discover the rich culture and know-how of the Huron-Wendat. Local experts, audio guides, and touchscreen tablets add to the experience in the permanent exhibition hall. For a truly authentic experience, treat yourself to a meal at La Traite restaurant and visit Onhoüa Chetek8e, a traditional Huron site.
Pôle culturel du Monastère des Ursulines
The Monastère des Ursulines, a founding community of New France established in Québec City in the 17th century, is the first school for girls in the north of the continent. Nowadays, it is a museum of history and art that exhibits the wealth of the oldest teaching religious community in Canada. Don't leave without seeing the Chapel, which reveals a magnificent collection of carved wood, ancient works of art as well as objects embroidered by the Ursulines.
Interpretation Centres with a Spotlight on Know-how
Observatoire de la Capitale
Want to learn more about a specific subject? Stop by one of Québec City’s interpretation centres or learn from dedicated artisans who are happy to share their know-how at one of our local economuseums.
You can discover unique pieces at a sculpture or copper art studio, learn how local gins are distilled or how blackcurrant products are made, or get inspired by the words and songs of the poet Félix Leclerc on Île d’Orléans. There’s so much to learn and so many people to meet!
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