Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum
|Location||494 Taché Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Official name||Grey Nuns' Convent National Historic Site of Canada|
Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum is a museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada that is dedicated to Franco-Manitoban culture and history. It is located in the oldest building in Winnipeg, a former convent run by the Grey Sisters. Begun in 1846 and finished in 1851, the former nunnery has been an orphanage, a school, a seniors' home, and was the first incarnation of the St. Boniface Hospital. The museum contains many Franco-Manitoban and Métis artifacts.
The first Grey Nuns who lived in this house arrived in 1844, and lived with Bishop Norbert Provencher until the house had been started. The nuns moved into the house in December 1846, at which time only the exterior walls of the first floor and the floor of the second floor above the kitchen had been completed. Due to the extreme temperatures of the region, it was necessary to somehow insulate the room. The nuns used bison pelts hung from the ceiling to do this.
When the building was finished, there was a basement, two floors and an attic. The building was built using the Red River construction method (also called mortise and tenon or tongue and groove). The building uses no nails to hold it together.
In November 1959 the municipality designated a museum for the site and established a board of directors. Since the late 1960s, the nunnery has been administered by first, the city of Saint-Boniface, then the City of Winnipeg after the amalgamation of 1971.
The convent building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1958. The museum also has a permanent exhibit dedicated to Louis Riel, the founding father of Manitoba. On display are the coffin on which his body was placed after his execution, locks of his hair, his revolver, pieces of the rope used to hang Riel, the white hood placed on Riel before he was hanged, his shaving kit, his moccasins and other items belonging to him.