In the early 1960s, scouts from the Saint-Alexis de Grande-Baie Parish collect more than 1,000 ancient objects from the local population. The exhibition of these objects became an instant hit. To house this growing collection, the municipality of Port-Alfred acquired the personal residence of Grande-Baie native Abbey Joseph-Wilbrod Dufour, appointed canon of the Chicoutimi Cathedral, from the Fabrique Saint-Alexis. It is on the shores of the Baie des Ha! Ha!, in 1967, that the Musée Monseigneur-Dufour first opened its doors. The following years bustled with activity: exhibitions, creation of educational programs, and classification of the collection.
In 1983, the Museum entered a new phase of existence and became the Musée du Fjord. It moved to the Saint-Alexis Community Centre, and began to rely on professional equipment and permanent personnel.
In July 1996, nature unleashed its fury. The floods that hit the Saguenay region devastated the Grande-Baie neighbourhood. The Museum sustained heavy damage and its equipment was ruined. It had to close its doors.
What appeared to be a disaster was in fact an opportunity for the museum to reinvent itself. The museum was reborn, thanks to the massive financial support of its community and numerous partners. In 2004, it reopened its doors in a renovated and extended building, complete with leading-edge equipment. Its mission is now centered on the region’s scientific, historical, and artistic heritage.
2010-2012 repositioning project
Beginning in October 2010 and completed in the year 2012, the museum conducted a vast repositioning project, focusing on its cultural and tourism offer, to provide the Saguenay‒Lac-St-Jean region with a world-class tourist attraction that meets the high standards of an international clientele.
Investments of more than 4 million dollars were granted by the Canadian and Quebec Governments, Promotion Saguenay, Bell, Hatem + D, Rio Tinto Alcan, the Caisses Desjardins de La Baie, and many other partners. Consequently, in addition to reconfiguring its reception area and gift shop, the Museum offers 2 new permanent exhibitions, a 3D multimedia presentation, and a permanent insect discovery site.