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Redpath Museum

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Subject: McGill University, John Redpath, Peter Redpath, Landmarks of Montreal, Downtown Montreal
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Redpath Museum

Redpath Museum
Established 1882
Location 859 Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Type Museum of natural history
Director Hans Larsson
Interior of the museum

The Redpath Museum is a museum of natural history belonging to McGill University and located on the university's campus at 859 Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was built in 1882 as a gift from the sugar baron Peter Redpath.[1] It houses collections of interest to ethnology, biology, paleontology, and mineralogy/geology. The collections were started by some of the same individuals who founded the Smithsonian and Royal Ontario Museum collections. The current director is David Green.

Commissioned by Redpath to mark the 25th anniversary of Sir John William Dawson's appointment as Principal, the Museum was designed by A.C. Hutchison and A. D. Steele. McGill University's Redpath Museum Web site characterizes it as an "idiosyncratic expression of eclectic Victorian Classicism" as well as "an unusual and late example of the Greek Revival in North America."[2]

It is the oldest building built specifically to be a museum in Canada.[3] Both the museum's interior and exterior have been utilized as a set, for movies and commercials.


  • Collections 1
    • Geology (mineralogy) 1.1
    • Entomology 1.2
    • Paleontology 1.3
    • Ethnology 1.4
  • Toronto museum 2
  • Affiliations 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Geology (mineralogy)

Five collections, containing approximately 16,000 specimens from all over the world, are identified by their initial letters:

  • 'D' Doell collection for Dr Donald Doell, a physician who contributed many of the more recent material in the collection.
  • 'F' Ferrier collection for Walter Frederick Ferrier, famous mining engineer who contributed this pre-eminent collection of minerals from many classic locations.
  • 'J' Jeffrey collection for Jeffrey de Fourestier, mineralogist and former volunteer at the museum.
  • 'P' Palache collection for Charles Palache, mineralogist and Harvard professor.
  • 'SC' Shirley Collection for the wife of Sir Hugh Graham Lord Atholstan who donated the collection in the early 1880s.
  • 'NS' New System collection for the general collection catalogue. This collection contains the main body of specimens including the collection of the former Natural History Society of Montreal and specimens from the collection of Lord Strathcona.


The Lyman entomology collections were transferred in 1961 by D. Keith McE. Kevan to Macdonald Campus in Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue, leading to the creation of the Lyman Entomological Museum and Research Laboratory.


The museum's important collection of fossils owes much of its beginning to Sir William Dawson who provided not only many of the fossils of plants from his native Nova Scotia, but procured many important specimens from around the world. Dr Thomas Clark, for many years up until his death, was a fixture at the museum and was renowned for his pioneering work on fossils from the Burgess Shale, some of the oldest known anywhere.


The ethnological and archeological collection is one of the oldest in North America and began with Sir William Dawson's collection. It received further material from the Natural History Society of Montreal. It now has over 17,000 items from Africa, ancient Egypt, Oceania, paleolithic Europe and South America. The collection of First Nations artifacts that were once part of the collection now are housed in the nearby McCord Museum in Montreal.

Toronto museum

Redpath also operates the Redpath Sugar Museum in Toronto, opened in 1979 at their Redpath Sugar Building processing facility by the waterfront (which itself opened 1958).


The Museum is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.

See also


  1. ^ Bronson, Susan. The Design of the Peter Redpath Museum at McGill University: The Genesis, Expression, and Evolution of an Idea About Natural History. September 1992 (17:3), p. 60-76.
  2. ^ Tea and Fossils: History of the Peter Redpath Museum
  3. ^ "About the Museum", "McGill University". Accessed May 11, 2008.

External links

  • Redpath Museum
  • Redpath Museum Biodiversity website
  • Images
  • Lyman Entomological Museum and Research Laboratory
  • 360 interactive panorama featuring the Albertosaurus in the Dawson gallery
  • Photograph:Redpath Museum, 1883 - McCord Museum
  • Photograph:Redpath Museum, 1913 - McCord Museum
  • Photograph:Interior of Redpath Museum, about 1893 - McCord Museum

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