The Redpath Museum is a museum of natural history belonging to McGill University
and located on the university's campus at 859 Sherbrooke
Street West in Montreal
, Canada. It was built in 1882 as a gift from the sugar baron Peter Redpath. It houses collections of interest to ethnology, biology, paleontology, and mineralogy/geology.
The collections were started by some of the same individuals who founded the Smithsonian and Royal Ontario Museum collections. The current director is David Green.It is the oldest building built specifically to be a museum in Canada. Both the museum's interior and exterior have been utilized as a set, for movies and commercials.
Five collections, containing approximately 16,000 specimens from all over the world, are identified by their initial letters:
- 'D' Doell collection for Dr Donald Doell, a physician who contributed many of the more recent material in the collection.
- 'F' Ferrier collection for Walter Frederick Ferrier, famous mining engineer who contributed this pre-eminent collection of minerals from many classic locations.
- 'J' Jeffrey collection for Jeffrey de Fourestier, mineralogist and former volunteer at the museum.
- 'P' Palache collection for Charles Palache, mineralogist and Harvard professor.
- 'SC' Shirley Collection for the wife of Sir Hugh Graham Lord Atholstan who donated the collection in the early 1880s.
- 'NS' New System collection for the general collection catalogue. This collection contains the main body of specimens including the collection of the former Natural History Society of Montreal and specimens from the collection of Lord Strathcona.
The Lyman entomology collections were transferred in 1961 by D. Keith McE. Kevan to Macdonald Campus in Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue, leading to the creation of the Lyman Entomological Museum and Research Laboratory.
The museum's important collection of fossils owes much of its beginning to Sir William Dawson who provided not only many of the fossils of plants from his native Nova Scotia, but procured many important specimens from around the world. Dr Thomas Clark, for many years up until his death, was a fixture at the museum and was renowned for his pioneering work on fossils from the Burgess Shale, some of the oldest known anywhere.
The ethnological and archeological collection is one of the oldest in North America and began with Sir William Dawson's collection. It received further material from the Natural History Society of Montreal. It now has over 17,000 items from Africa, ancient Egypt, Oceania, paleolithic Europe and South America.