The Marsil House dates from approximately 1750. It was one of the first houses in Saint-Lambert; several similar houses on Riverside were built by the Marsil family in the mid-eighteenth century. The house was purchased by the City of Saint Lambert for back taxes in 1935. Until this date, it had remained in the Marsil family. It was designated an historical monument by the Quebec Government in 1974.
In 1976, Elsie Sullivan, the Museum’s founder, and a group of concerned citizens approached the City of Saint Lambert with plans to make the building a museum. Pratt & Whitney Canada offered its assistance for the renovation. Construction began in the fall of 1977. Pratt & Whitney sponsored all of the costs of renovating the house and the building of the annex. In addition, 500 employees donated over 3500 hours of their time to the project. Because the building had to meet the requirements of a modern museum with sophisticated climate control and security systems, it was renovated rather than restored. However, care was taken to retain the original structure and character of the building. By September, 1979, the house had been effectively transformed into a museum called Marsil Museum and was ready to receive its first exhibition.
In 1987, the Marsil Museum was accredited by the Minister of Cultural Affairs. It receives a yearly operating grant, which helps support its programming and activities. In 1993, the Museum redefined its vocation to concentrate primarily on the fields of costume, textiles and fibre, the focus of its permanent collection since the Museum’s founding.
In 2006, after having assembled more than 145 exhibitions during its first 26 years, the Marsil Museum is mature to become le Musée du costume et du textile du Québec (MCTQ – The Museum of Costume and Textile of Québec). With its broader implications, this name will allow our institution to focus on its core mission and collections.
The Fashion Museum is in fact the only museum in Quebec devoted entirely to costumes, textiles and fibres.
In 2016, the Musée du costume et du textile du Québec undergoes a significant change as it becomes the Fashion Museum. This new identity, better suited to its mission, will help to rally the key actors of Montreal’s fashion scene around this unique, creative and dynamic institution.