Quebec’s Museum of Civilization is an immersive museum located in Quebec City. It showcases the history and culture of the province and Canada.
Full of Quebecois and Canadian historical information and artifacts, the Musée de la Civilisation (as it is known in French) is the most popular museum in Quebec City and a great place to learn.
Musée de la Civilisation à Quebec
Not to be confused with the former Canadian Museum of Civilization (now called the Canadian Museum of History) in Ottawa, the Musée de la Civilisation is one of the pre-eminent museums in the province.
The museum is located right next to the St. Lawrence River in historic Old Quebec just a few blocks away from the city’s Old Port. Its address is 85 rue Dalhousie. The building itself is fairly memorable, with two separate gallery wings connected by an outdoor plaza.
The inside is fairly sleek-looking, as compared to some of the other big museums in Quebec and Ontario, the Musée de la Civilisation is relatively young. It opened in 1988 and was designed by the well-known architect Moshe Safdie.
Exhibitions on display by the museum showcase the history of Canada and various places around the world. Visitors can also participate in many interactive activities, and guided tours are available too. As of January, 2022, tickets must all be purchased online and visitors need to choose a time slot to go to the museum. Masks are also mandatory due to concerns about COVID-19.
Hours and Admission
Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, all tickets must be bought online. Tickets also come with specific entry times. The museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. As of January, 2022, here are the prices:
- Adults (35-64): $20
- Seniors (65+): $19
- Young Adults (18-34): $15
- Youth (12-17): $7
- Children (5-11): $5
Children 5 years and younger enter for free. An important note is that those prices do not include access to the top feature exhibitions. To add that to your ticket costs between $1 and $5 depending on your age.
Also, admission is free for all Quebec residents on the first Sunday of each month. Crowds might be busy those days, but it’s a good opportunity to visit!
For more information on admission and where to buy tickets visit the Musée de la Civilisation website.
The Main Exhibitions
The Musée de la Civilisation often has different exhibitions rotating in and out. There are only a few permanent ones in the museum. One of them is This Is Our Story which is all about the culture and history of the indigenous communities in Quebec.
Another is People of Quebec…Then And Now which covers the history of Quebec from its very first inhabitants all the way up to the present day. Both of these exhibitions include hundreds of artifacts and the latter has original video displays as well.
An exhibition that stands out is Observe, a more hands-on experience that is fun for people of all ages. In this section of the museum you can go into a completely dark room to feel what it’s like to be blind, as well as check out a mirror maze and several optical illusions and take on some puzzles.
The rotating exhibitions are quite varied. Ones from 2021 include Fishing Stories which covered the history of fishing in the province, and Maya, which showcased some beautiful objects from the Mayan civilization.
As mentioned above, admission to the museum’s feature exhibition costs extra. Until March 26th, 2023, the current feature exhibition is Oh Shit!, which is all about poop and how it has been dealt with throughout human history.
The majority of the artifacts on display in this exhibition only left Guatemala for the first time a few years ago, so this is definitely something worth checking out.
Oh Shit! (ends on March 26, 2023)
This exhibition is all about human excrement, aiming to be educational in an area that’s often played for comedic or squeamish effect. The various types of displays cover everything from the social history of poop to environmental issues to how poop is represented in art.
There are interactive parts of the exhibition as well. This includes the CACArcade, a series of small video games you can play. There is also a classic Roman toilet, which consists of nine holes cut along a bench with cleaning sticks on hand. How waste is managed both in Quebec and around the world is examined, with the different issues we face put on display. Looking at the future, there is also information about all the various potential applications that poop can have.
The Museum Online
In addition to what’s on display in the building itself, the museum has some virtual exhibitions that can be explored from home. This includes online continuations of some previous in-house displays.
One of those is the exhibition My 2000-Year-Old Double. It is no longer available to visit in person but you can check it out online in a 360-degree view.
There is also Effets Spéciaux! which is a very informative series on the history and process of special effects in TV and movies. Online-only now, you have to pay $10 to access this exhibition on your computer.
For more information visit the Museum of Civilisation website.
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