The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics and engages local and international audiences by promoting understanding of the long history of people crafting and living with clay. The Museum stewards a highly important collection, connecting visitors to the fundamental role of ceramics in many cultures throughout history, and offers special temporary displays, many highlighting the relevancy of ceramics to contemporary life.
The permanent collection comprises approximately 4,000 objects, and focuses on specific areas which have been collected in depth. These include the most important collection of European porcelain in Canada, with particular strengths in Meissen, Vienna, and Hausmaler decorated porcelain, as well as a comprehensive collection of figures inspired by the commedia dell'arte. The Gardiner holds the best collection of Italian Renaissance maiolica in Canada, and a superb collection of English tin-glazed pottery.
The Museum also preserves highly significant collections of ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese blue and white porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary Canadian ceramics. The Gardiner is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally.