The museum is located in Madame de La Peltrie’s house, a three-story institutional building erected in 1836 by Thomas Baillairgé and enlarged in 1868 by Joseph-Ferdinand Peachy. The structure was built on the foundations of the house erected in 1644 for Marie-Madeleine de Chauvigny, known as Madame de La Peltrie, secular founder of the Ursulines. The new addition alleviated the problem of a lack of space for the increasingly large numbers of day students.
In 1857, the building housed the girls’ section of the Laval Normal School, which had just been established. Teachers from the boys’ section of the school taught the education classes to the girls, while the nuns were responsible for the drawing, music, embroidery and English classes. From the time it opened until 1930, when the institution moved to Saint Louis Road and became the Laval Normal School of Merici, 4,700 girls earned their teaching diplomas. The section for the day students remained in operation until 1954.
The building subsequently became home to the Ursulines’ Provincial House, followed by the Marie of the Incarnation Center. Madame de La Peltrie’s house was named a heritage building in 1964, and it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1972. The Ursuline Museum has been within its walls since its restoration in 1979.