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Museu Municipal de Viana do Castelo (EN)

Largo de S. Domingos Viana do Castelo

Hours of Operation

Every day from 10h00 to 13h00 and from 15h00 to 18h00

Museum of Decorative Arts - Presentation

Viana do Castelo is lavish in Manueline doors and windows, some simple, others of fine repair, so much so that in fairness it can be said that Viana puts the traveler in the view of the best. The Museum, which has its doors to enter and leave, is of particular importance, and, being small, contains, not to mention other gifts, the most complete and rich collection of Portuguese faience, about one thousand and six hundred pieces that the traveler does not can study in detail, or have to end the trip here.

Journey to Portugal, José Saramago


The Museum of Decorative Arts, integrated in the Portuguese Museums Network since 2002, 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 , interpretation and dissemination contributing to the constitution and transmission of the memory of a people and their identity. Its mission is also to safeguard and enrich the heritage and educate the public in the sense of their defense, creativity and culture.

The objectives of the Museum are:

- Study, safeguard and disseminate the collections that make up the Museum of Decorative Arts.
- To value the collection as a testimony and document of a tradition, of societies and cultures.
- Support and collaborate in the safeguarding, study and dissemination of the national heritage.
- Support and collaborate in the safeguarding, study and dissemination of the cultural, mobile and immovable heritage.
- Extend and diversify the public of the Museum.
- Establish partnerships with other national or international institutions (mainly the Portuguese-speaking countries), with a view to study, dissemination and enjoyment of national and foreign heritage.

History of the Museum

When in the 1920s we began to think about creating a museum in Viana, a commission was created to organize a museum in the city, which included the mayor, Rodrigo Abreu and the scholars Cláudio Basto, Luís Figueiredo da Guerra and Luis Augusto Oliveira. At that time it was decided to buy a building suitable for its installation and soon one thought about the possibility of acquiring this magnificent building, which happened.

The Museum was opened at the Feast of the Lady of Agony of 1923, and was reported in the newspaper Aurora of Lima on August 17, 23: "Painting Exhibition: Tomorrow the Regional Museum is inaugurated, installed in the« Casa das Figuras » of the City Hall, in the Largo de S. Domingos.

In one of the halls of that palace will have the visitor to enjoy a beautiful exhibition of paintings by our friend Mr. Rubens Martins "and in the August 24 edition, he says" The Regional Museum has been visited a lot and the beautiful tiles of the walls of their halls and admired the objects exhibited, among them a beautiful collection of photographs of the distinguished amateur, mr. Manuel Affonso. The collection of paintings by Rubens Martins has also been greatly appreciated. "

Strangely enough, the equipment so desired in the city, had a very discreet opening and without protocol ceremonies, it seems that the exhibition of photographs of Manuel Afonso or the paintings of Rubens Martins was the real reason for the opening of the museum.

In the first years of the museum, archaeological pieces were exhibited, mainly collected in the excavations of the citadel of Santa Luzia, some objects related to the municipal life, already in disuse, like the scepters of aldermen, and the gauge of customs measures, and others collected in the demolition of important buildings, such as the stones of arms.

Together with The Museum, the library was installed until 1966.

It is then that two of the collectors, Luís Augusto Oliveira and Serafim Neves take charge of each one of a room that is named after them, where they exhibit pieces of their personal collection, thus beginning a second period of the life of the Museum.

Building History

The Museum of Decorative Arts is installed in an urban plot located on the São Domingos square, where there is also the church of the convent of the same evocation, ordered to be built by the Holy Friar Bartolomeu dos Mártires.

The building was built in 1724 by Canon Antonio Felgueiras Lima, and the archbishop of Braga, D. Rodrigo de Moura Teles, was staying there when he was traveling to Viana.

Later it was bought by the family Barbosa Teixeira Maciel, being known by the House of Barbosa Maciel.

It is a beautiful building with Baroque lines, although with classic elements, as are the triangular pediments that top the windows.

Inside the building, in addition to the staircase leading to the noble floor, a set of three rooms with baroque blue tile skirting boards, representing gallant scenes, hunting scenes and a room with an exceptional set of panels representing the four parts of the world (Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas), demonstrating how Viana was a land facing the world and receptive to other cultures.

The original building also has a small chapel with a magnificent altarpiece of Baroque carving and the walls decorated by tiles signed by the master Policarpo de Oliveira Bernardes.

New wing
In 1993, a new ward was added to the museum by the architect Luís Teles (who received an honorable mention in the National Architecture Prize), with a gallery for temporary exhibitions, work reservations and offices and an auditorium, which allowed the development of a museological activity more consistent.