Visit the Redpath Museum

It’s snowing like crazy again in Montreal – so if you want to do some urban sketching, you need to find something indoors.  I’ve had the Redpath Museum on my list for a while now, so a snow day was all the excuse I needed to head down to the Mcgill Campus.

Turns out, this is an awesome little museum. Really fun place.  Packed to the rafters with zoological, ethnographic and paleontological specimens.

The Redpath is the oldest purpose built museum in Canada, (build at the behest of a Sugar baron, one Peter Redpath), which dates it back to 1882. The structure is classified as ‘Greek Revival’ – but that sounds too dry. I’d call it  ‘Victorian Ebulliance’ .

Something about the whimsical design of the building seems to have influenced the curators. The exhibits have an old-school cabinet of curiosities feel.  Some of the collection makes little sense – such as a  stranded Japanese suit of armor that’s sitting amongst the dinosaurs and stuffed wolves. But the randomness just makes it more fun. Like a carnival side show; but a Carnival of Science !

I particularly liked the raptors mounted on little perches around the windows.  Drawing these birds against the blizzard outside was fun.

The stairs up to the gallery level are guarded by a taxidermy trio of African animals. I can only assume there’s no where else to put them. I liked the look of this Ibex watching you from the landing.  I’m sure I’ll be heading back here for some more sketches soon.  If just for the variety of skulls one could draw!

8 thoughts on “Visit the Redpath Museum

  1. Love museums; brilliant places to sketch. Especially for the skulls. Although, I saw a sign at outside our local “Return Soldiers League” Club (veterans in your language I guess) that was advertising a military museum. Going to check that one out for sketching opportunities. And the buzzards and the staircase taxidermy looked great. :)

  2. hey dr sketchy, was just up in montreal last week but didn’t see all that much art in the way of galleries, museums and whatnot. Went down to griffintown but everything was either closed or too exclusive. The Musee Art Contemporain was good but they roped off half the museum so you couldn’t see any of the permanent collection. Found only one gallery in the plateau section off st laurent. Thought montreal was much more art-centric, is it?

    I’d been to mtl before but never got around to exploring neighborhoods like I did this time and really found it to be a fascinating city, but I thought I’d just bump into galleries in my uncharted travels so I was kind of disappointed.

    BTW, I’m planning on going back soon when it stops snowing.

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