Founded in 1984 by George R. Gardiner and his wife Helen Gardiner, designed by Keith Wagland, the museum has been described as a "jewel box of ceramic treasures" . The Gardiner Museum underwent a $20 million renovation, reopening in August 2006, with KPMB Architects (Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna and Blumberg) and was awarded the Pug Award for Best Commercial Architecture in 2006 .
Its permanent collection of over 2,900 pieces, includes works from the Ancient Americas, Italian Renaissance, English Delftware, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, European porcelain, and a Contemporary gallery. In addition to the permanent collections, the museum mounts three temporary exhibitions per year.
The museum offers programs and lectures, and, in its clay studio, clay classes for adults and children.
The Museum is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.