Montreal's Stewart Museum to permanently close, collections relocate to McCord Museum

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Montreal's Stewart Museum is permanently closing its doors under "extremely difficult" financial circumstances.

Leaders at the museum, which focuses on the European history of North America, say a drop in financial contributions from foundations, rising operational costs and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic all factored into the decision.

The 27,000-artifact museum, located on Saint Helen's Island, reopened in 2011 and merged leadership with the McCord Museum in downtown Montreal two years later.

But organizers say the Stewart struggled to draw crowds, in part, because of its location.

After its immediate closure, the museum will plan virtual programming, exhibitions and a new digital platform set to be unveiled in the fall.

It'll be the first step towards integrating the collections into the larger McCord Museum on the mainland.

"We felt it would be preferable to accelerate the physical integration of the two museums, which was already planned and announced as part of our new museum project," said Monique Jérôme-Forget, chair of the board, in a statement.

Organizers say the relocation of the Stewart collection, which covers the establishment of New France up to the present day, will take place over the coming year.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press