Canada, Quebec Province, Quebec City, Old Town, Ursulines museum
Philippe Renault / age fotostock
Located in Upper Town, Musée des Ursulines de Québec (the Ursulines Museum) sits next to the order’s complex of buildings, many constructed during the 17th century. Much of the history of New France is tied to religious orders, and the Ursulines were the first nuns to arrive in the New World. After landing in 1639, they settled in Lower Town; the convent moved to its current location just three years later. The Ursulines’ mission became the education of girls, both those in indigenous families as well as those born into the leading families of the settlers—the focus of the academy here. Artifacts and displays over three floors provide insights into one aspect of life in Québec during the 18th and 19th centuries: the education of girls at the province’s leading school, where graduates were expected to leave proficient in music and lacework, but also with an understanding of math and the sciences. The museum also has a remarkable collection of embroidery, with the excellence of the Ursulines’ work attracting patrons even back in France during the convent’s early years.