Consisting of textual documents, ancient maps and plans, unpublished manuscripts, sheet music, photographs, the institution's holdings and archive collections reflect events and life journeys that have shaped society.
The historical archives are related to the migration, establishment, development and expansion of French culture and Catholic spirituality in North America. They also reflect the strong vitality of Québec society. As such, the Museums preserve the private archives of individuals and institutions involved in collecting artifacts. These ensembles ensure a comprehensive understanding of the heritage of Québec society and other civilizations.
Essential sources of information, the archives are an economic, intellectual and sociocultural portrait of the development of society and individuals alike. And this is just one example of the huge potential for finding information and making interpretations through consulting just a single document or archive.
The Fonds du Séminaire de Québec covers all of this school's activity from the time of New France until today. As a heritage founder of the history of French America, these archives also make up a substantial part of the memory of humanity. A significant portion, 1623-1800, is therefore classified in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register because of its inestimable historical value, consistency and uniqueness.
Louis XIV's letters patent
Musées de la civilisation, Séminaire de Québec archival holdings, photographer: Amélie Breton – Perspective, Séminaire 11, no 2.
General Hospital Quebec from the Ice,
Musées de la civilisation, fonds d'archives du Séminaire de Québec, 1993.15171
Rare and Old Books
From the very beginning of the seminary, in 1663, Mgr François de Laval, the first bishop of Québec, encouraged the sharing of books. The prelate thus created a library of tremendous wealth.
The library contains the first books having circulated in the colony and original editions of the accounts of 17th and 18th century explorers. The library also contains European incunabulum (books published before 1500), Canadian incunabulum (books published before 1820) and priceless old editions. It brings together numerous books, newspapers and pamphlets about science, law, philosophy, literature, music, art, geography and history. Computerized cataloguing has been used on over one fourth of this impressive collection.
The historical library covers the period from the 16th to the 20th century. It is full of exceptional works and genuine witnesses!
Musées de la civilisation, Centre de référence de l'Amérique française, October 19, 2008, photographer Idra Labrie – Perspective Photo, 4133_icono_0055