The oldest university in Montreal, McGill was founded in 1821 from a bequest by James McGill, a prominent local merchant originally from Scotland. From its humble beginnings with a handful of students gathered in a single room, McGill has grown to become one of the world’s finest universities, bringing together close to 40,000 students and more than 11,000 faculty and staff. The university has two campuses—the main downtown campus and our Macdonald campus on the West Island—that mix beautiful heritage buildings with new, state-of-the-art facilities.
McGill began collecting artwork in the 1830s, shortly after the university was founded. At present there are over 2,000 artworks on display across both university campuses. These works are on view in public outdoor spaces, as well as in corridors, classrooms, and administrative spaces where they enhance the teaching, research, and working environments of faculty, staff, students, and visitors. The collection also serves as a laboratory for the training of students in art history and curatorial studies, allowing them an opportunity to have first-hand experience cataloguing and researching works of art under the direction of museum professionals.