A Collection to Discover

In 1996, the Musée de la civilisation holdings were enriched by a major collection from the Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale [Laboratory of forensic science and medicine] of the Quebec Department of Public Security. At the time of its founding in 1914, this institution was known as the Laboratoire de recherches médico-légales.

The collection of objects and judicial evidence amassed by this laboratory over the course of the 20th century includes hundreds of items of all kinds-some connected with famous cases, others with run-of-the-mill trials.

The collection of the Laboratoire de science judicaire et de médecine légale is significant in several respects, since it provides a glimpse of the evolution of the administration of justice and changes in our social history. Taken from the first laboratory to have specialized in this field in Canada, it offers tangible evidence of the evolution and development of different branches of forensic science, primarily the oldest ones. In addition to laboratory instruments, several of which were used at the first lab on rue St-Vincent circa the 1930s, certain objects point specifically to the analytical techniques used or the specialized studies carried out by medical examiners.

Enlarge image Razors linked to various suicides between 1920 and1940 [1996-1198 to [...]
© Musée de la civilisation

The collection contains items and exhibits from trials that made front page news at the time and have lived on in our collective memory, such as the Delorme affair, the Guay affair, the Coffin affair, the Hochelaga Bank hold-up, as well as the events of October 1970. In addition, the various exhibits pertaining to illicit activities (abortion, opium use, suicides, etc.), illustrate little-known facets of our urban history around the time of the economic crisis of the 1930s, as well as showcasing the role played by specialists in forensic science.

Listed below are some of the objects you can find in the collection.