• The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
    History of the MMFA: 1860-2016
    156 years of history

Founding (1860-1910)

1860

Establishment of the Art Association of Montreal (first museum in Canada) to “encourage the appreciation of fine arts among the people of the city”.

1879

Opening of the first Gallery in Phillips Square, Montreal.

Raison d’être (1910-1950)

1912

Relocation of the Art Gallery to a new building on Sherbrooke Street (current Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion).

1916

Creation of the department of decorative arts and traditional arts, establishing the Museum’s collection as encyclopedic.

Identity (1950-1970)

1950

The Art Association adopts the name “The
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.”

1960

Celebration of the centennial and democratization of art, including first support from benefactors in the French-speaking community

1961

Creation of the Education Department.

Democratization (1970-1990)

1972

Change to the Museum’s status from a private institution to a mixed non-profit corporation.

1976

Opening of a second pavilion (Liliane and David M. Stewart).

1980

Milestone in the Museum’s history, with unusual exhibitions such as Tintin (1980) and Leonardo da Vinci (1987) attracting new audiences.

Opening up to the world and multidisciplinary approach (1990-2010)

1991

Opening of third pavilion (current Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion).

1994

Creation of the MMFA Foundation to raise private funds and ensure long-term funding through capitalized donations.

1997

Installation of the Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts (founded by Liliane and David M. Stewart in 1979) in residence at the Museum; merger with the MMFA in 2000.

2008

Arte Musica Foundation takes up residence at the Museum.

Exceptional growth
 (2010-2016)

2011

Opening of fourth pavilion (Claire and Marc Bourgie)
and Bourgie Concert Hall; major reinstallation of 4,000 works in the Museum’s four pavilion.

2012

Creation of Studios Arts & Education Michel de La Chenelière, doubling the facilities for educational activities.

2016

+1 million visitors , 107 000 members and 300,000 participants in educational, cultural and community activities.

An engaged and humanist museum (2016-2020)

The Pavilion for Peace, the Museum’s fifth building, will house 700 works of international art, from Old Masters to the modern day, including the Hornstein donation.

Expansion of areas for family, educational and community activities; addition of art therapy programmes.

Reinstallation of 2,500 works in world cultures, decorative arts and design in the other pavilions.