The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics and engages local and international audiences by promoting understanding of the long history of people crafting in clay.
Through the display of its permanent collections and special exhibitions, as well as through studio education, programs that engage diverse communities, and major contributions to scholarship, the Gardiner champions ceramics.
Support from the community is vital to the Gardiner’s ability to continue to provide
There’s more to the Gardiner than our collections. Take a clay class, learn about the art of ceramics with world-renowned guest speakers, or join us for one of our many special events.
Executive Chef Bianca Azupardo presents inspired seasonal menus that showcase locally-sourced ingredients, complemented by stunning views of the city.
You're invited on a journey from the steamy kitchens of cooks who advocated light, flavourful cuisine centuries before our time to the dining rooms of connoisseurs who relished their meals served on newly-invented vessels. Be transported back to the 18th century through stunning objects, decadent recipes, amusing stories, and theatrical sets. Plan your visit to Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment now!
On December 10, award-winning Cree journalist Connie Walker moderates a panel featuring exhibiting artists Cannupa Hanska Luger and Kali Spitzer, as well as Cora McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women’s Health Association. The conversation will centre on the role of visual art in addressing the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, queer, and trans community members. Get tickets now!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
Everyone can love clay! Become a Friend at one of the world’s great specialty museums and enjoy the benefits, including unlimited admission, invitations to exhibition previews and special events, discounts on lectures and clay classes, and more.
The Gardiner Museum is Canada’s national museum of ceramics. It is one of a small number of specialized museums of ceramics in the world.
Ceramic is the term we use to describe any object, whether created for practical, ritual, or ornamental use, that is made of clay and fired. There are many different types of ceramic; each defined by its material and sometimes by the way it is decorated or fired.
The Gardiner Museum was established in 1984 by George and Helen Gardiner, whose founding collection set the pattern for the future. Rather than building an encyclopedic collection, the Gardiners focused on specific areas of ceramic excellence which they collected in depth. Their collection was divided into two principal areas: Earthenwares, represented by ceramics from the Ancient Americas (pre-colonial America), Italian Renaissance maiolica, and English delftware; and Porcelain, with a focus on European porcelain of the 18th century, including specialized collections of Commedia dell’Arte figures and scent bottles.
Over the past thirty years, the Museum’s collection has expanded its European holdings to include creamware, French faïence, and 19th-century ceramics with a focus on Minton and wares for the Canadian market. Additional important specialties include Asian, modern, and contemporary ceramics.
The Gardiner Collects
Since opening in 1984, The Gardiner Museum’s collections have continued to grow and flourish, mostly in thanks to the generous donations of ceramics collectors from around the globe. If you think you may have a piece or a collection that may be of interest to us, please refer to our Guide to Donations for frequently asked questions.
The Gardiner Museum is dedicated to providing an enriched experience for educators, scholars and the general public. In addition to the permanent gallery displays, exhibitions and educational programming, we have a library dedicated to ceramic research available to the public. We also make available, upon request, images of our collection for commercial and non-commercial purposes in the hopes of broadening awareness about ceramic art.
1. Parrot Effigy Bottle with Double Chambers (detail), Salinar Culture, Peru, North Coast, Late Early Horizon 500-300 BCE, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.159
2. Dog Effigy Vessel (detail), Comala Style, Mexico, Colima, 300 BCE-300 CE, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.40
3. Pilgrim Flask (detail), China, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period and Mark, c.1736-1795, The Robert Murray Bell and Ann Walker Bell Collection of Blue and White Chinese Porcelain, G98.9.1
4. Monumental Pharmacy Jar (detail), Italy, Faenza, Attributed to the workshop of Virgilotto Calamelli, c.1550, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.354a-b
5. Rabbit Tureen (detail), England, London, Chelsea, c.1755-1756, Purchased with a gift from Dr. Walter S. Bloom and Carol Bloom Koffler in memory of their mother, Adele S. Bloom, a collector and connoisseur of English porcelain; with a grant from the Government of Canada, Ministry of Communications under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act and with the assistance of the Tecolote Foundation.
6. Janet Macpherson, Collapsed Deer Head, North of North Series, 2015, Gift of the Artist, G17.8.1
7. Moon Flask (detail), England, Stoke-on-Trent, Minton, Deisgned by Christopher Dresser (1834-1904), c.1870-1880, Gift of N. Robert Cumming, G98.1.28
8. Mining China Stone (detail), Guangzhou, China, Canton School, c.1810, Gift of Lindy Barrow, G13.2.2
9. Jun Kaneko, Untitled (head), 2002
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7