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Decorative Arts

The Decorative Arts collection consists of some 41,090 objects that primarily document the material environment within which Montrealers, and more broadly Quebecers and Canadians, have lived for the past three centuries.

From a collection of objects associated with key Canadian historical figures, it has grown to encompass the material culture of domestic interiors, community life and consumption practices. Objects range from furniture, items related to food preparation and household decoration and management, hunting and sporting equipment, weapons, numismatic materials and objets d’art. They document the change from a pre-industrial world to one of mass-produced goods. Highlighting the tastes and needs of Montrealers from all socio-economic levels, these objects range from the mundane, such as locally produced stoneware, once essential for the home storage of foods, to the high-end, like imported Staffordshire pottery and porcelain.

The collection also bears witness to the evolution of childhood and play in Canada over three centuries, with extensive holdings of toys, including dolls, dollhouses, toy soldiers, games and board games.

The objects in the Decorative Arts collection reveal important clues about how Montrealers and Canadians lived, worked and played in centuries past.

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Snuffbox (M15909)

Snuffbox
1800-1825, 19th century
M15909

Chest of drawers (M987.66.2.A-B)

Chest of drawers
Owen McGarvey
1870-1880, 19th century
M987.66.2.A-B

Stuffed animal, elephant (M970.23.43.1)

Stuffed animal, elephant
About 1907, 20th century
M970.23.43.1