Redpath Museum, McGill University

Left: Interior Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 1893 (?)

Right: Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal, QC, after Notman (VIEW 2604). Taken July 21, 1999, 5:00 p.m.

Left: William Notman, Right: Andrzej Maciejewski

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


Date/Time: July 21, 1999, 5:00 p.m.

To line up my camera in this shot I used the details of the railings and the walls. Some of the rich detail in Notman's photograph is lost because natural light has been replaced by fluorescent. In addition, a strong light patch that appears in the original is now blocked out by a tall building to the west of the museum. Nonetheless I'm sure I captured this interior at the same time of year and day. Overall, the changes to the interior, especially the artificial lighting have a diminishing effect - even the dinosaur is smaller now!
Date/Time: July 21, 1999, 5:00 p.m.

To line up my camera in this shot I used the details of the railings and the walls. Some of the rich detail in Notman's photograph is lost because natural light has been replaced by fluorescent. In addition, a strong light patch that appears in the original is now blocked out by a tall building to the west of the museum. Nonetheless I'm sure I captured this interior at the same time of year and day. Overall, the changes to the interior, especially the artificial lighting have a diminishing effect - even the dinosaur is smaller now!

© McCord Museum of Canadian History

Map

This Map of Montreal depicts the location where the photographs by Notman and Maciejewski were taken.

McCord Museum of Canadian History

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.


Built on the campus of McGill University in 1882 thanks to a substantial donation from Peter Redpath, president of the Redpath Sugar Company, the Redpath Museum had an important collection of natural science specimens, of which the initial nucleus was assembled by the principal of the university, Sir William Dawson, a geologist and the most important Canadian scientist in the 19th century. In addition to the rooms were the various collections and an impressive giant sloth skeleton were displayed, the museum had storage areas, laboratories and a huge auditorium.

The people of the Victorian Era had a passion for the natural sciences. Whether it was botany, ornithology, conchology (the study of shells), zoology or archeology, specimens collected in Canada or in far-off lands, men and women, amateur and professional scientists were avid collectors. They were also convinced of the scientific and educational importance of museums. This is why the Redpath Museum provided support for university teaching and research. But private associations and many more modest educational institutions also had their own exhibition rooms built for their members or their students.
Built on the campus of McGill University in 1882 thanks to a substantial donation from Peter Redpath, president of the Redpath Sugar Company, the Redpath Museum had an important collection of natural science specimens, of which the initial nucleus was assembled by the principal of the university, Sir William Dawson, a geologist and the most important Canadian scientist in the 19th century. In addition to the rooms were the various collections and an impressive giant sloth skeleton were displayed, the museum had storage areas, laboratories and a huge auditorium.

The people of the Victorian Era had a passion for the natural sciences. Whether it was botany, ornithology, conchology (the study of shells), zoology or archeology, specimens collected in Canada or in far-off lands, men and women, amateur and professional scientists were avid collectors. They were also convinced of the scientific and educational importance of museums. This is why the Redpath Museum provided support for university teaching and research. But private associations and many more modest educational institutions also had their own exhibition rooms built for their members or their students.
Printed Documents

* Duchesne, Raymond. 1990. « L'ordre des choses : Cabinets et musées d'histoire naturelle au Québec (1824-1900) ». Revue d'histoire de l'Amérique française, vol. 44, no 1 (Summer), p. 3-30.
* Rumilly, Robert. 1949. Le frère Marie-Victorin et son temps. Montreal : Frères des écoles chrétiennes.
* Sandham, Alfred. 1870. Ville-Marie, or, Montreal Past and Present. Montreal: G. Bishop.

On-Line Documents

• City of Longueuil Website. [On Line]. http://ville.longueuil.qc.ca/vieux-longueuil.htm (Pages accessed in June 2002)

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.

Museum display of stuffed animals

School museums developed in Quebec particularly from 1860 to 1890, when the teaching of sciences was becoming more important. Certain institutions, such as the Mount St. Louis Seminary, devoted substantial resources to their collections and acquired very exotic specimens, such as the big cats in this photo.

Anonymous
McCord Museum of Canadian History
c. 1930
Silver salts on paper - Gelatin silver process
20 x 25 cm
MP-0000.1863.5
© McCord Museum


Mummy Cases

The Natural History Society, founded in 1827, was an association of Montrealers interested in natural history. The premises of the society included an amphitheatre, a library and a museum. According to contemporary sources, the main attraction of the museum was the Ferrier Collection of Egyptian antiquities, of which the pièce de résistance was certainly the mummy case.

Anonymous
McCord Museum of Canadian History - Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
c. 1900
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
MP-0000.25.236
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


Science on display.

The specimens on display at the Redpath Museum are subjects of study for researchers working in the natural sciences, an area experiencing rapid growth. Instruments such as the botanist's herbarium, the geologist's hammer and the microscope attest to the work of these scientists. Internationally, Darwin's theory of evolution, although controversial, is among the major discoveries of his era. William Dawson of McGill University is one of the leaders of the movement opposed to him. The motivating force behind one of the first archeological digs in the country, Dawson makes his mark in geology and paleobotany.
Science on display.

The specimens on display at the Redpath Museum are subjects of study for researchers working in the natural sciences, an area experiencing rapid growth. Instruments such as the botanist's herbarium, the geologist's hammer and the microscope attest to the work of these scientists. Internationally, Darwin's theory of evolution, although controversial, is among the major discoveries of his era. William Dawson of McGill University is one of the leaders of the movement opposed to him. The motivating force behind one of the first archeological digs in the country, Dawson makes his mark in geology and paleobotany.

© 2009, RCIP-CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

A Herbarium

This herbarium press was used by the McCord family in the 19th century to dry plants. John Samuel McCord (1801-1865) was an accomplished amateur scientist and an avid gardener, which no doubt accounts for his use of this press.

Unknown
c. 1840-1860
Mahogany
53 x 40.7 x 24.5 cm
M996X.2.691
© McCord Museum of Canadian History


Herbarium specimens of flowering plants, ferns and the larger algae are customarily dried between sheets of heavy blotting paper or construction felt under pressure so that the drying specimen is flat. Most specimens dry in about a week, if the blotters are changed several times. The drying can be speeded up by interspersing ventilators of corrugated cardboard among the blotters. The dried and pressed plants are then mounted in a herbarium in a manner that best illustrates the characteristics of the plants.

Nineteenth-century botanists, both amateur and professional, used herbariums for identifying and conducting research on plants.
Herbarium specimens of flowering plants, ferns and the larger algae are customarily dried between sheets of heavy blotting paper or construction felt under pressure so that the drying specimen is flat. Most specimens dry in about a week, if the blotters are changed several times. The drying can be speeded up by interspersing ventilators of corrugated cardboard among the blotters. The dried and pressed plants are then mounted in a herbarium in a manner that best illustrates the characteristics of the plants.

Nineteenth-century botanists, both amateur and professional, used herbariums for identifying and conducting research on plants.

© 2002, McCord Museum of Canadian History. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify the changes that were operated within Canadian society over two decades (territory, population, economy, etc.);
  • Describe in details changes that he/she is able to observe;
  • Explain and speculate about the reasons that could justify these changes;
  • Make connections between the differences and similarities of the two eras.

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