This museum is built on the site of the very first colony established in 1642 where the St-Pierre River merged with the St. Lawrence. In 1688, the third governor of Montreal, Chevalier Louis Hector de Callière, built a home on the site. In 1861, the building eventually become the home office for Royal Insurance.
This very modern Museum of Archaeology and History displays a wide variety of artifacts from the early settlers unearthed during the excavation. The exhibits about the Amerindiains, French, Irish and Scottish are below street level that was once ancient burial grounds. Hundreds of artifacts are grouped into six main sections: the Éperon, a modern building; the archaeological crypt on the lower level that was once ancient burial grounds; the renovated Ancienne-Douane building (Montréal's first Custom House), the Youville Pumping Station, the Archaeological Field School and the Mariners House.
The curators at the museum have done an excellent job at making history come alive. Every weekday, interpreter guides lead you on tours or offer info-sessions on the Where Montréal Was Born exhibition and the current temporary exhibition. New expansion has incorporated the Youville Pumping Station, across from the main building, into the museum. Dating from 1915, it has been restored to serve as an interpretation center. The main building contains L'Arrivage café and has a fine view of Vieux-Montréal and the Vieux-Port.