With the evolution of artillery, the defense of fortified cities was increasingly entrusted to firearms. To defend its walls, the city of Lille created a company of gunners in addition to the archers and crossbowmen. Officialized on May 2nd, 1483 by Philippe le Beau, the Brotherhood of the cannoneers and couleuvriniers, under the patronage of Sainte-Barbe, will be present at all the sieges that Lille will know.
Brotherhood under religious patronage, the Canonniers saw their company dissolved by the Revolutionaries. However, they were integrated into the National Guard by the decree of 1791. The artillerymen of Lille were noted for their bravery during the siege of 1792 led by the Austrians. In 1803, the consul Bonaparte rewarded them by reorganizing the corps which was named Bataillon des Canonniers Sédentaires de Lille.
During the Great War, the Canonniers fought in Dunkirk to defend the inter-allied port. Then during the French campaign, they were assigned to the anti-aircraft defense of the Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing area.
The museum presents a collection of objects related to the Confrérie de Sainte-Barbe and the defense of the city of Lille as well as testimonies of the daily life of the Canonniers, and elements retracing the history of the city of Lille.