About the Museum
Behind the elegant Beaux-Arts façade of this building, which is now over 100 years old, are the twinned residences of the first occupants, Oscar and Marius Dufresne, two prominent middle-class figures in the early 20th century in Montreal.
In 1948, the Dufresne family estate sold the property to the Pères de Saint-Croix. This religious order used it as the site for the Dufresne Pavilion, an annex to the Collège de Saint-Croix. In 1957, the City of Montreal acquired this exceptionally valuable heritage property and became responsible for maintaining it. From 1965 to 1968, the city leased the premises to the Québec government’s Ministère des Affaires culturelles, which used it to house the first Musée national d’art contemporain. In 1976, steps were taken to protect the property. The Québec government declared the Château Dufresne a historical monument and, with the generous patronage of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, a large portion of the Château’s interior was restored. From 1979 to 1997, the Château housed the province’s very first Musée des arts décoratifs, before becoming the Musée du Château Dufresne in 1999.
The historical importance of this heritage site, which extends far beyond the significance it had during the time of the Dufresne family, is well recognized today. With the many cultural events that took place there, the Château Dufresne became a cultural focal point for the Quiet Revolution, as well as a museum that brought Québec into the modern era.
- To foster a knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the heritage value of the Château Dufresne as a classified historical monument, and of its collections.
- To show how the Dufresne family, through its vision and its actions, influenced the development of Montreal and the social dynamics of the city’s eastern sector.
- To show the rich cultural history of this site, which housed the province’s first contemporary art museum (Musée national d’art contemporain) and its first decorative arts museum (Musée des arts décoratifs), before becoming a museum and heritage site in its own right.
- To contribute to the dialogue between cultures and communities by sharing the site’s contribution to greater openness to the world, to interest in all the arts and to the development of philanthropy by a francophone elite.
- To become a key promoter of cultural tourism in the rapid growth of the new Olympic district by developing a renewed cultural and heritage experience in conjunction with its community partners.
- To facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and the development of common bonds through multidisciplinary activities in education, cultural mediation, dissemination and marketing on and off the site, as well as online.
- A hub for the reinforcement of social bonds, the museum is open to diversity and constitutes a unifying, participatory and socially engaged force in the communities of eastern Montreal and the city as a whole. The Château promotes entrepreneurship as a source of inspiration and pride, in order to improve the quality of life and foster harmonious coexistence. In the area of cultural tourism, it is a key player in the development of the Olympic district.
- Our actions are based on the following values: accessibility, inclusivity, diligence, boldness, creativity, integrity and the dynamics of everyday life.