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The 20,000 works at Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec range from the traditional landscape paintings of Cornelius Krieghoff to the controversial abstraction of Paul-Émile Borduas and the avant-garde sculptures of Serge Tousignant. Non-Quebec artist Arthur Lismer's lovely St-Hilarion is one of the Museum's prized possessions. A huge slate of activities awaits art, music and cinema lovers. The museum hosts numerous events and exhibits throughout the year, so call ahead for more information.
The Morrin Centre is a vibrant cultural center in the heart of Quebec City. The 1808 building it occupies was the first prison of the city and restores its historic charm. Take a guided tour of the establishment through jail cells and intriguing exhibitions, as well as the library for a glimpse of 19th-century imprisonment practices. Administered by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, it commemorates speakers of the English language and their contribution to Canadian culture. The center also rents out spaces for private and social events.
The beautiful Museum of French America (Le Musée de l'Amérique française) offers many multidisciplinary insights into the history of North America's French communities. There are two permanent exhibits: The Settling of French America is a multimedia trip from France to the colonies, while The History of the Collections Séminaire de Québec boasts an unmatched assortment of religious art and scientific instruments. Guided tours are available in both French and English.
This popular museum presents Quebec's military history in a flashy half-hour show centered around an enormous and meticulously-researched scale model of the city. The displays document the many battles and sieges, involving at various points the British, French and Americans. The presentation intrigues children and adults alike. Located across the street from the Château Frontenac, this is an essential stop on any historically-inclined tour of Quebec. The presentation is given in both French and English. Call ahead for varying dates.
Museum of Civilization plays host to a wide variety of locally and internationally themed exhibitions. In a building that effortlessly combines ancient colonial architecture with ultramodern additions, visitors feast on bilingual exhibitions ranging from Xi'an, Eternal Capital, a multimedia exploration of the ancient Chinese city, to Encounter with the First Nations, which focuses on Quebec's Native Peoples. Guided tours are also available.
The history of Quebec and Canada is intertwined with that of the Saint Lawrence River and its sailors. Naval Museum of Quebec aims to preserve the memory of the Canadian sailor's history from the beginning of the 20th Century, during both war and peace. The museum offers several activities designed to demystify the life of the sailor and has a fascinating exhibit featuring little-known facts about Quebec's naval history, such as the presence of German submarines in the Saint Lawrence during WWII. Call to check for timings.