The modern glass building is impressive, and the audiovisual show is a breezy romp through Montréal's history from the Ice Age to the present, but the real reason to visit the city's most ambitious archaeological museum is to take the elevator ride down to the 17th century.
It's dark down there, and just a little creepy thanks to the 350-year-old tombstones teetering in the gloom, but it's worth the trip. This is a serious archaeological dig that takes you to the
very foundations of the city. You begin on the banks of the long-vanished Rivière St-Pierre, where the first settlers built their homes and traded with the First Nations inhabitants. From there you climb up toward the present, past the stone foundations of an 18th-century tavern and a 19th-century insurance building. Along the way, filmed figures representing past inhabitants appear on ghostly screens to chat to you about their life and times. A more lighthearted exhibit explores life and love in multicultural Montréal. For a spectacular view of the Old Port, the St. Lawrence River, and the Islands, ride the elevator to the top of the tower, or stop for lunch in the museum's glass-fronted café. In summer there are re-creations of period fairs and festivals on the grounds near the museum.
By 2017, in time for Montreal's 375th anniversary, a major expansion of the museum, including new exhibits, will have been completed.
Dec 21, 2004
then you will learn to love it at this museum. It brings the history of montreal to life with actual excavations of a historic montreal site. Don't miss this one of a kind museum. It's a treasure.
Sep 13, 2002
Found the museum to be interesting and entertaining. The media presentation of the history of Montreal was informative and very well presented. The audio is offered in either english or french via headsets. The presentation was well paced and held our interest. The underground self guiding tour of the archeological digs, while sanitized for the public, gave the feeling of the age of the city and piqued your interest as to what may be under your feet
in any old city. While we had no children with us I feel it would hold their interest.