The Museum

The Musée québécois de culture populaire is located in the heart of the historic district of Trois-Rivières. This second oldest French city in North America, founded in 1634, is less than 120 kilometres from the large urban centres of Montreal and Quebec City. The museum opened on June 26, 2003 and is the only museum exclusively devoted to Quebec popular culture.

The museum’s collections include almost 80,000 ethnological items. Within the ethnology collection, almost 35,000 objects are from the Robert-Lionel-Séguin collection. It is recognized as one of the largest traditional Quebec culture collections in Canada. It represents the soul of the museum’s ethnology collection. The objects recount past events and portray Quebec popular culture.

The collection includes toys, textiles, furniture and tools that depict traditional occupations, domestic life, farm work and popular art. The museum also has seven small buildings, a walkway, documentary archives, a library and more than 200,000 documents about costumes, customs and socio-economic conditions in Quebec.

The Read More

The Museum

The Musée québécois de culture populaire is located in the heart of the historic district of Trois-Rivières. This second oldest French city in North America, founded in 1634, is less than 120 kilometres from the large urban centres of Montreal and Quebec City. The museum opened on June 26, 2003 and is the only museum exclusively devoted to Quebec popular culture.

The museum’s collections include almost 80,000 ethnological items. Within the ethnology collection, almost 35,000 objects are from the Robert-Lionel-Séguin collection. It is recognized as one of the largest traditional Quebec culture collections in Canada. It represents the soul of the museum’s ethnology collection. The objects recount past events and portray Quebec popular culture.

The collection includes toys, textiles, furniture and tools that depict traditional occupations, domestic life, farm work and popular art. The museum also has seven small buildings, a walkway, documentary archives, a library and more than 200,000 documents about costumes, customs and socio-economic conditions in Quebec.

The museum’s six exhibition halls are dedicated to different themes illustrating Quebec popular culture. A multimedia room presents films and seminars, conferences and other events while two rooms are used for educational activities.

The permanent exhibitions

“Quebec, Criminally Speaking” describes Quebec’s criminal history during the 20th century, with the evolution of Quebec society as a backdrop. It recounts the great criminal investigations of the first half of the century, the evolution of criminality since 1960 and advances in the field of forensics and judicial science, where Quebec has been a leader in North America.

The adventure exhibit “The Maeva Odyssey” invites youths 5 to 17 to enter the world of a space craft created by the imagination of Captain Maeva, who is on a mission to save planet Earth.

The old jail at Trois-Rivières, designed by architect François Baillargé, was built in 1822 and a listed heritage site, is linked to the Museum by a passageway. Here you may experience a visit entitled “Go to Jail”. Former inmates guide visitors through the building and speak of prison life, now and in time past. Noteworthy is that the jail operated until 1986, making it the oldest continuously-used correctional institution in Canada, a history covering 164 years.


© 1997, Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

The Musée québécois de culture populaire

The Musée québécois de culture populaire

CHIN
The Musée québécois de culture populaire

© 1997, Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Textiles were very important in Quebec domestic interiors as a way had to be found to deal with the harsh climate. Coverlets and rugs first served a practical function; they had to provide insulation against the cold. Over time, they became decorative elements representative of Quebec popular art. The variety of forms and techniques clearly illustrate the symbolic imagination and creativity of our ancestors.

Several materials were used to produce textiles in Canada, including linen, hemp, cotton, jute and some recycled materials. The cultivation of textile plants was slow to take hold despite repeated incentives. Originally, plants were grown only to meet the immediate needs of the family but then interest in this kind of production began to spread. In Quebec, linen and hemp have been grown since the early days of the colony. One of the most widely used materials, however, is wool.

Because textile fibres were quite rare, people had to use their imagination and use fabric over again. Scraps, rags, knits, woolens and other worn textile products were thus reclaimed and recycled. People even went so far as to use corn husks to make rugs. Other unusual materials Read More
Textiles were very important in Quebec domestic interiors as a way had to be found to deal with the harsh climate. Coverlets and rugs first served a practical function; they had to provide insulation against the cold. Over time, they became decorative elements representative of Quebec popular art. The variety of forms and techniques clearly illustrate the symbolic imagination and creativity of our ancestors.

Several materials were used to produce textiles in Canada, including linen, hemp, cotton, jute and some recycled materials. The cultivation of textile plants was slow to take hold despite repeated incentives. Originally, plants were grown only to meet the immediate needs of the family but then interest in this kind of production began to spread. In Quebec, linen and hemp have been grown since the early days of the colony. One of the most widely used materials, however, is wool.

Because textile fibres were quite rare, people had to use their imagination and use fabric over again. Scraps, rags, knits, woolens and other worn textile products were thus reclaimed and recycled. People even went so far as to use corn husks to make rugs. Other unusual materials can also be used depending on the imagination and skills of the artisans.

With the coming of industrialization, people stopped making coverlets and rugs at home, and domestic art was transformed into a craft trade. Quilts, coverlets and rugs, once produced as objects for daily use, gradually became beautiful pieces of art to decorate our domestic interiors.

© 1997, Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

In the early days of the colony, coverlets served a strictly functional purpose. In time (towards the 18th century), they took on a more decorative character. Quilting is a needlework craft. It was practised in almost every home towards the beginning of the 19th century. It required more painstaking work than rug making. Quilts were usually made from a cotton, jute or linen cover on which coloured pieces were sewn to create all kinds of decorative patterns. They could be patchwork (divided into rows of pieces), edged with a border or crazy quilts (fabric scraps sewn together in a random pattern). This construction is lined with batting and quilted.

This coverlet was made from a single strip of cotton in a pattern called " crow’s feet". It has been entirely hand quilted.

In the early days of the colony, coverlets served a strictly functional purpose. In time (towards the 18th century), they took on a more decorative character. Quilting is a needlework craft. It was practised in almost every home towards the beginning of the 19th century. It required more painstaking work than rug making. Quilts were usually made from a cotton, jute or linen cover on which coloured pieces were sewn to create all kinds of decorative patterns. They could be patchwork (divided into rows of pieces), edged with a border or crazy quilts (fabric scraps sewn together in a random pattern). This construction is lined with batting and quilted.

This coverlet was made from a single strip of cotton in a pattern called " crow’s feet". It has been entirely hand quilted.


© 1997, Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Quilt

Handmade

Unknown
Robert-Lionel-Séguin Collection
late 19th Century
Length: 192 cm; width: 169.3 cm
© Robert-Lionel-Séguin Collection


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Describe the The Musée québécois de culture populaire, Canada and its interior textile collection
  • Describe the history of rug making and quilting in Quebec culture
  • Explain the importance of these skills to Quebec culture

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