|A group of students visiting the natural science museum with Sr. Marie Jean Eudes|
The Congregation of Sisters of Saint Anne made it clear very early on that it was convinced of the educational value of a museum. In 1918, Sr. Marie-Martin set up a first community museum in St. Anne’s Convent, located at 1300 Saint-Joseph Boulevard in Lachine. Down the halls of the convent, she displayed documents relating to the history of the community and period magazines that she had collected with care since 1911.
In 1942, under the direction of Sr. Marie-Jean-Eudes, the museum took a new direction, becoming a natural science museum. For 30 years, it played an important teaching function by welcoming classes from various schools.
At the start of the 1970s, the natural science collections were transferred to Cité des jeunes in Vaudreuil. From there, they went to the Musée Georges-Préfontaine at the Université de Montréal, and finally found a permanent home at the Musée de la nature et des sciences in Sherbrooke in 1995.
In 1972, the museum enters a new transition phase. Marie-Jean-Eudes inventories historical objects, researches and documents collections accumulated over the years to ensure a return to the first historical mission of the museum.
The museum reopened its doors in 1979. A permanent exhibit was presented in one room, in addition to temporary thematic exhibits. Three SSA curators succeeded Sr. Marie-Jean-Eudes, including Sr. Colette Masson who played an active role in safeguarding and documenting the heritage of her community for close to 25 years.
The year 1990 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of the community’s foundress, Mother Marie-Anne Blondin. To highlight her journey toward canonization and make her story better known, an interpretation centre called Estherama was developed. Located in the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Saint Anne on Provost Street in Lachine, it presented the foundress’ life and the apostolic expansion of her religious community.
Two years later, the Marie-Anne-Blondin Museum was inaugurated, also located in the Motherhouse. It presented a permanent exhibit on the heroic years of the foundation and the foundress’ journey from her beginnings in Vaudreuil until the congregation built the Lachine convent. It brought together items that were rich in meaning, some of which had belonged to the foundress personally, and reference objects handed down from the first decades of the Congregation.
In 2005, the general administration of the Sisters of Saint Anne formed a plan to bring the two museums and the interpretation centre together in a single location. After considerable renovation and work to update the permanent exhibit, the Sisters of Saint Anne Historic Centre opened in June 2008 in Saint Anne’s Convent.
In 2010, Saint Anne’s Convent was sold to Collège Sainte-Anne, adjacent to the museum. The Congregation signed an agreement to keep the Historic Centre in its location until 2015.