Every day from 10h00 to 13h00 and from 15h00 to 18h00
The Viana do Castelo Costume Museum, which has been part of the Portuguese Museum Network since 2004, is a permanent, non-profit institution at the service of society and its development, which incorporates cultural assets and values them through research, inventory, conservation, exhibition and interpretation, disseminating the goods representative of nature and the high-minhoto man, with the mission of studying popular culture, of safeguarding and developing heritage and of educating, in the true dynamic sense of creativity and culture.
The Costume Museum of Viana do Castelo is located in the historical center of the city, more specifically in Praça da República. Installed in a building built between 1954 and 1958, with architectural features of the "Estado Novo", where it operated until 1996 the delegation in this city of the Bank of Portugal. It is an austere building with very sharp vertical lines, only decorated by two high reliefs (by Roque Gameiro). These high-reliefs represent economic activities: fishing and agriculture, where - as if it were a premonition about the future use that the building would have - girls dressed in lawnmower harvest and harvest the corn. When the Bank of Portugal's delegation in the city was closed, the City Council immediately acquired the building, and destined it to Museu do Traje, which happened in 1997. The creation of a museum dedicated to Vianian ethnography - and particularly the Costume - where the daring and creativity of the region's girls could be shown, was an aspiration of the Vianenses from a very early age and was fought by such names as Cláudio Basto, Abel Viana , Lieutenant-Colonel Afonso do Paço, Manuel Couto Viana, Amadeu Costa, Benjamim Pereira, among many others. The Museum began in 2002 the process of joining the Portuguese Museum Network, and was certified in 2004, which gives it great responsibilities in the study, conservation and dissemination of cultural assets. It was in 2004 that the Museum presented its first permanent exhibition, entitled "Wool and Linen in the Costume of Alto Minho", curated by Benjamim Pereira. In 2007 the building underwent major works to adapt to museum functions, with the conquering of spaces for exhibitions, reservations, educational services, tertúlias and administration that considerably improved the conditions for the fulfillment of museological functions.
History of the Museum
The Costume Museum of Viana do Castelo was created in 1997, assuming the mission of studying and divulging the identity and ethnographic heritage of Viana through its exponent maximum, the vianese costume. By Vianese costume we mean the feminine, popular, rural costume, worn in the villages around Viana do Castelo, which has acquired characteristics that individuate and make it immediately identifiable. This costume was worn from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. Throughout the twentieth century, and coinciding with the time when it began to cease to be used and to lose its role in socio-cultural life, the costume was the object of the eyes of scholars who fought for the maintenance of their daily use. Then, realizing that this was not possible, they looked for other ways of preserving their genuineness, which eventually happened in a set of performative practices that resulted folklore groups and their elevation to the category of main attraction of the celebrations of the city, in honor of the Lady of the Agony. In this way the costume maintained its characteristics and identity, even when it began to be used in decontextualized situations of the original use (Carnival costume, exotic clothing used by professional photographers, advertising image and commercial advertising). These uses away from the original use were helping to impart new meanings to the costume: closeness to the traditional world and with rurality, joy and creativity, ceremoniality, etc., and had - though sometimes used with intent to parody their genuine users - the beneficial effect of spreading and immediately recognizing the image of costume throughout the country. He thus gained an extraordinary symbolic value, becoming a greater icon of the Vianian identity and also national. It is in this context that the creation of a museum dedicated to Vianian ethnography - and especially the costume - to promote the creativity of the region's girls in the making of their costumes was, since the beginning of the 20th century, an aspiration of the Vianians and for which they fought scholars such as Cláudio Basto, Abel Viana, Afonso do Paço, Manuel Couto Viana, Count of Aurora, José Rosa de Araújo, Maria Emília de Vasconcelos, Amadeu Costa and Benjamim Pereira, among many others. Initially, the tutelage of the Museum was handed over to the Feast Committee of the Lady of Agony and functioned as a gallery of temporary exhibitions, with costume exhibitions organized by Amadeu Costa. The City Council took over the role in 2000, with the placement of a senior technician responsible for space, and began to outline the programmatic lines that would lead to the definition of the mission and objectives of the museum that served as a basis for the application to the Portuguese Museums Network. The museum was given the museological functions that the Portuguese Museums Framework Law prescribes to collect, preserve, study / produce information and to communicate / disseminate elements related to traditional ways of life and the cultural identity of Minas Gerais. Being the popular female rural costume, used in the villages around the city of Viana do Castelo, commonly known as "Costume à Vianesa" or "Lavradeira", the most well-known and celebrated element of Minhota ethnography, was the reason for the attribution of the name to this Museum. The museum thus also assumes a role of communicating and enhancing the informative value of the costume, which is all the more important as it is always present in the dissemination of the city and the region and, of course, it is not possible today to find it in its "Natural environment" (except in special situations such as festivals, pilgrimages and folklore festivals). The museum started in 2002 the process of joining the Portuguese Museum Network and was certified in 2004, which gives it great responsibility for the study, conservation and dissemination of cultural assets. It was also in 2004 that the Museum presented its first permanent exhibition entitled The Wool and the Linen in the Costume of Alto Minho, curated by Benjamim Pereira. In 2007 the building underwent major works of adaptation to museum functions, with the conquest of spaces for exhibition, reservations, educational services, tertúlias and administration that considerably improved the conditions for the fulfillment of museological functions. As part of its knowledge of the territory, the museum also developed a set of five thematic museological centers, spread throughout the rural parishes of the municipality: in Outeiro dedicated to bread, in São Lourenço da Montaria to the water mills, in Carreço to the mills of wind and agro-maritime activities, in Castelo de Neiva to the sargaço catch.
Over the course of this period, it has exhibited about 50 temporary exhibitions and two long-term exhibitions, and until 2010 the museum was visited by around 160 thousand people, a large part of which is made up of school visits of students who are thus known better the costume whose image you recognize from your day to day.
Suit to Vianesa
By vianesa costume we understand the clothing worn by the girls from the rural villages near the city of Viana do Castelo that gained its own characteristics that individualizada in fears of the nineteenth century and was used until the beginning of the twentieth century. These characteristics can be defined by the daring of its color and by the enormous profusion of decorative elements that give it an exuberant appearance. These characteristics make it unique in the panorama of popular clothing in Portugal, being easily recognized and identified with the region of origin. This was the main reason the costume became a symbol of local identity. The first impact of the suit is astounding at its beauty, but we must not forget that it is integrated into a socio-cultural context in which it makes sense: a rural economy close to self-sufficiency, which used reciprocal, collective and free work, with a strong playfulness and integrated sociability. This context is the fundamental key to understanding the dress and relating it to the environment in which it was used and manufactured: often the same girl who grew flax (and raised the sheep that gave wool) was the one who wove it and wove it and then performed the pieces of clothing that dyed and decorated with embroidery and other applications. And it would not be rare for this same girl to wear the costume, adapting it to the rhythms and moments of the rural life of daily work, the moments of rest, especially the Sunday, and party, where the girl proudly shows in her splendor . It was in this context that the suit evolved and developed the characteristics that individualize it and it is for this reason that it is understood as a mirror of a traditional way of life and the high minhota identity.