Museum, Archives and Library

Basilica Museum & Archives



The Basilica is home to the Museum and Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s. The collection of antiques and archival material is recognized as one of the most valuable in the country.
The Archives is the main repository for the historical documents of the Roman Catholic Church. Its holdings include parish histories, photographs, records and artifacts of closed parishes and early parish sacramental books.

Museum at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Archives offers critical resources to those interested in the history of this province. The Sacramental Registers, recording marriages and baptisms, is the collection which appeals to the vast majority of researchers in genealogy. The Fleming Collection contains great detail on the story of the early work undertaken to construct the Basilica and presents a strong image of Newfoundland society of the day. Finally, the Photograph Collection is one of most extensive in the province, with thousands of photographs, including very rare images of the City of St. John’s.
Basilica Library



The Library at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist houses more than six thousand books.  Many of these publications are considered to be rare and the oldest book was printed in 1524.  Once dubbed “the finest room in the Colony,” the Library features ornate ceilings, stained glass windows and large handcrafted bookcases, and appears today much as it did when it opened in 1860.  Designed as a space for inspiring study and reflection, the Library’s collection includes many exceptional volumes:

  •  The Gospel According to Mark - The New Testament (paraphrased) is authored by D. Erasmus. A leather bound book published in 1524, King Edward VI of England went so far as to decree the book be placed beside the Bible in every parish church in his realm.
  • The English Pilot, The Fourth Book printed in 1755 is a collection of maps detailing the harbours of what was then the New World. It features nine very rare maps of Newfoundland harbours.
  • History of the Government of the Island of Newfoundland has an appendix containing the Acts of Parliament made Respecting the Trade and Fishery and was written in 1793 by John Reeves, Esq, Chief Justice of the Island of Newfoundland.