The Redpath Museum's mandate is to foster the study of the history and diversity of the natural world, including geological, biological and cultural diversity. Its collections have been growing for over a century, and provide resources for research and for graduate and undergraduate education in biology, geology, anthropology and other fields. Its largest collections include fossils from the ancient sea floor of eastern Quebec, the oldest land plants, a vast range of minerals, molluscs from around the world, Egyptian and classical antiquities, and artifacts from Central Africa. The Museum also houses research laboratories and classrooms.
The Museum welcomes McGill students and staff to visit its permanent exhibit, which presents the history of life through the ages illustrated by material from Quebec and neighbouring regions, as well as displays that feature the mineral and mollusc collections. The Museum also features an ethnology gallery devoted to cultures throughout the world, including ancient Egypt, classical Greece and Rome, Asia, and Africa.