As Quebec’s sole museum dedicated to fashion and textile arts, the Fashion Museum’s mission is to promote the wealth of clothing and textile heritage. The museum makes a point of exhibiting creations from Quebec amongst international artefacts, therefore shinning a spotlight upon the artists and artisans who have made or still make Quebec’s fashion scene an ongoing success. The museum documents, preserves and showcases the history of fashion, a precious heritage for generations to come.
Mission and History
A key player in the preservation of Quebec’s collective memory, the Fashion Museum is also a window on world textile heritage. To fulfill its mission, the museum considers the past, present and future. It approaches its mandate from artistic, anthropological and scientific perspectives using a contemporary, innovative approach applied with contagious enthusiasm.
A mirror of the past and a window on the future, the Fashion Museum oversees heritage conservation while promoting the work of contemporary textile artists and technologists.
Working at the leading edge of the latest developments in museum science, the Fashion Museum employs an ever-evolving array of museological techniques. It is open to new ideas and clearly focused on the future.
The Fashion Museum presents accessible, inviting exhibitions. Its creative and stimulating educational programs do far more than merely simplify and popularize.
Our research is open and generous of spirit: it aims to understand, document and communicate.
The Fashion Museum presents bold exhibitions on garments, fabrics and fibres. Its historical, multicultural and contemporary approach immerses visitors in the worlds of fashion, traditional textiles, modern fibre art and the clothing practices of various cultures.
The Marsil House dates from approximately 1750. It was one of the first houses in Saint-Lambert; several similar houses on Riverside were built by the Marsil family in the mid-eighteenth century. The house was purchased by the City of Saint Lambert for back taxes in 1935. Until this date, it had remained in the Marsil family. It was designated an historical monument by the Quebec Government in 1974.
In 1976, Elsie Sullivan, the Museum’s founder, and a group of concerned citizens approached the City of Saint Lambert with plans to make the building a museum. Pratt & Whitney Canada offered its assistance for the renovation. Construction began in the fall of 1977. Pratt & Whitney sponsored all of the costs of renovating the house and the building of the annex. In addition, 500 employees donated over 3500 hours of their time to the project. Because the building had to meet the requirements of a modern museum with sophisticated climate control and security systems, it was renovated rather than restored. However, care was taken to retain the original structure and character of the building. By September, 1979, the house had been effectively transformed into a museum called Marsil Museum and was ready to receive its first exhibition.
In 1987, the Marsil Museum was accredited by the Minister of Cultural Affairs. It receives a yearly operating grant, which helps support its programming and activities. In 1993, the Museum redefined its vocation to concentrate primarily on the fields of costume, textiles and fibre, the focus of its permanent collection since the Museum’s founding.
In 2006, after having assembled more than 145 exhibitions during its first 26 years, the Marsil Museum is mature to become le Musée du costume et du textile du Québec (MCTQ – The Museum of Costume and Textile of Québec). With its broader implications, this name will allow our institution to focus on its core mission and collections.
The Fashion Museum is in fact the only museum in Quebec devoted entirely to costumes, textiles and fibres.
In 2016, the Musée du costume et du textile du Québec undergoes a significant change as it becomes the Fashion Museum. This new identity, better suited to its mission, will help to rally the key actors of Montreal’s fashion scene around this unique, creative and dynamic institution.