Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections

A Collection to Preserve

Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections (CNCEC), is the main location for the conservation of the national collections. After an eventual expansion, it will house all of the collections of Musées de la civilisation, including the historical archives and rare and old books. 

Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections (CNCEC) preserves a diversity of objects acquired since the foundation of Musées de la civilisation. The transfer of the ensemble of ancient documents, currently in Musée de l'Amérique francophone, will take place after standards for preventive conservation conditions are brought up to date and after an expansion of the current location, built in 2003. Once brought together, the collections will become consistently available to facilitate their analysis. The CNCEC will position itself as an essential location for the consultation, study and enhancement of national heritage.  

Le CNCEC

Musée de la civilisation, Photographic survey of the museum complex buildings, Octobre 14,  2003, photographe : Jacques Lessard, a035_relv03_0007

The architectural work of Pierre Thibault is captivating because of the sobriety of its volumes and its great functionality. Each reserve is specifically designed to meet recognized museum conservation standards. To house the collections, the Centre is equipped with mobile storage systems on rails, which maximize space and favour the storage of artifacts. Each object is classified and identified here to facilitate research and control. 

The CNCEC will be more than a museum reserve. It will be transformed into a dynamic cultural facility at heart of training activities and studies of the museum collections. New mediation spaces, a reception and reference centre and a multi-purpose room will allow Musées de la civilisation and, through it, the Québec government, to fully play their roles and respect their commitment.

Vache et son veau, girouette fabriquée en 1955 Cow and its calf, wind vane, 1955
Les Musées de la civilisation, photo: Amélie Breton – Perspective, 88-3963.

The architectural work of Pierre Thibault is captivating because of the sobriety of its volumes and its great functionality. Each reserve is specifically designed to meet recognized museum conservation standards. To house the collections, the Centre is equipped with mobile storage systems on rails, which maximize space and favour the storage of artifacts. Each object is classified and identified here to facilitate research and control. 

Conserving for Future Generations

A real strongbox for protecting the collections, Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections offers a secure environment with conservation conditions appropriate for each type of object.

Future generations will continue to have the opportunity to contemplate objects that have lasted through the centuries because of safety standards and optimal conservation conditions at Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections. Everything was carefully thought out, down to the smallest of details – from the paint on the walls and floors to the ventilation system and the support mounts made specifically for each type of object.

The impressive 8,546 square-metre building has eleven storage rooms. Nine are used to house collections belonging to Musées de la civilisation. The other two rooms are used by Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec to store large works of art.

Strictly controlled humidity levels and temperatures in each of the storage rooms, adjusted according to the materials they contain, ensure optimal conservation conditions.


Cold room

Temperature: 10°C
Humidity: 50% (summer); 40% (winter)
Many objects are made of materials that are more susceptible to chemical deterioration or infestation risks. Objects made of rawhide, leather, sinew or porcupine quills are stored with objects made of rubber or plastic. Over one third of Aboriginal collections are kept in this room.

Cold room
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0012

Cold room
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0004


Storage room for large objects made of composite materials

Temperature: 21°C
Humidity: 55% (summer); 40% (winter)
Often, objects are made of a variety of materials. This is the case for several types of furniture, printing equipment, looms, pianos, household appliances and transport-related items.

Storage room for large objects made of composite materials
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0021


Storage room for small objects made of composite materials

Temperature: 21°C
Humidity: 55% (summer); 40% (winter)
The largest storage room is ironically where the smallest objects are kept. It holds scientific and musical instruments, Inuit sculptures, material associated with trades and professions, crockery, communication devices, toys, religious statues, Christmas ornaments, folk art and firearms. The firearms, however, are under lock and key, and people who handle them must have the necessary permits.

Storage room for small objects made of composite materials
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0067

Storage room for small objects made of composite materials
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0064


Storage room for large wooden objects

Temperature: 21°C
Humidity: 55% (summer); 40% (winter)
This storage room also holds furniture. The pieces are from all periods in Québec's history, particularly from the 17th century to the 1960s, with examples from New France and École du meuble (furniture-making school).

 

Storage room for large wooden objects
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0020


Storage room for large wooden objects
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0018


Storage room for small wooden objects

Temperature: 21°C
Humidity: 55% (summer); 40% (winter)
Other than small pieces of furniture, this storage room contains traditional toys and a collection of commercial signs. The latter provides a glimpse into social history, lifestyles and trades.

Storage room for small wooden objects
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0071


Storage room for paintings

Temperature: 21°C
Humidity: 55% (summer); 40% (winter)
Among the easels are remarkable paintings on loan from Séminaire de Québec. Several of the paintings had a profound influence on artists Joseph Légaré, Antoine Plamondon, Théophile Hamel and Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté. Along with these works from past centuries is folk art. There are paintings by Sister Marie-de-l'Eucharistie and the Sisters of Charity of Québec, and contemporary works of art donated by Janine Carreau.

Storage room for paintings

Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0026


Storage room for textiles

Temperature: 21°C
Humidity: 55% (summer); 40% (winter)
Textiles are always extremely sensitive to humidity levels and light. Heavy church vestments are kept in specialized storage units. Lighter garments are hung on padded coat hangers and put in unbleached cotton garment bags; others are kept in drawers. Quilts and rugs are carefully preserved on large rollers.

Storage room for textiles
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0037

Storage room for textiles
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0034


Storage room for taxidermic specimens

Temperature: 18°C
Humidity: 50% (summer); 40% (winter)
Primarily featuring specimens from the 19th century, this collection is extremely fragile and can also pose a hazard due to the arsenic used as a preservative by taxidermists in the past. The storage room is cooler and has an independent ventilation system. Workers are required to wear a smock, mask and gloves.


Storage room for metals

Temperature: 21°C
Humidity: 38% (summer and winter)
To prevent corrosion, jewelry, silverware, ironwork and gold objects are kept in a low-humidity storage room with an independent ventilation system. Tableware made of silver is put in special bags, and religious silverware is locked away in cabinets. Some Inuit sculptures are also kept in this storage room since they contain pyrite, which could cause the stone to crack if humidity levels are too high.

Storage room for metals
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0041

Storage room for metals
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0043

Musées de la civilisation conserves a rich collection of historical archives and rare and old books, currently stored at Musée de l'Amérique francophone. Their inestimable value has earned part of this collection a place in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Such a responsibility demands ensuring exemplary treatment of these collections. To this end, a vast "archives project" is currently underway thanks to the support of ministère de la Culture et des Communications, aiming to ensure appropriate preventive conservation. Once this huge undertaking is completed, the collections of historical archives and rare and old books will be relocated to the CNCEC (Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections).

More information about research on the historical archives and the library of rare and old books

The laboratory is somewhat of a clinic for objects of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections. Minor restoration work and prevention conservation is carried out here by specialists.

Laboratoire de conservation préventive
Photographic survey of Centre national de conservation et d'études des collections
Musées de la civilisation, Jessy Bernier - Perspective Photo a035_relv14_0055

 



Time lapse video of three conservators from the Canadian Conservation Institute installing the masts and mounting the rigging on a ship model belonging to the Musée. The ship model is a 19th-century object made by Joseph Ovide Lachance, a sailor on the St. Lawrence River from the years 1880 to 1900.

The collections of Musée de la civilisation carry a rich, complex and dynamic history that nourishes and feeds reflections on our society and Québec's place in the world. 

- General information -


Pavillon Jérôme-Demers
Musée de l'Amérique francophone
5th Floor

9, rue de la Vieille-Université
P.O. Box, 155, stn. B
Quebec (Quebec)  G1K 7A6

collections@mcq.org
T. 418 528-0157
F. 418 692-5206

- Loan Applications -


For a loan application, please fill out the documents and sent them to : 
collections@mcq.org
T. 418 528-0157

Find out more

- Moratorium on the Historical Archives and the Library -


To improve the conservation conditions of collections for which it is responsible, Musées de la civilisation has extended the current moratorium until December 31, 2016.

Find out more