Penafiel Municipal Museum

Penafiel Municipal Museum

For more than sixty years, Penafiel Municipal Museum, which is owned by Penafiel City Council, has been a permanent structure, a bedrock of the municipality’s planning and management policy for cultural resources, playing a crucial role in the preservation and promotion of important values of its movable, immovable and intangible heritage.

Set up in 1948, always in temporary facilities, in 2003 it was accredited to join the Portuguese Museum Network. Totally renewed and permantly installed in new facilities in 2009, it is currently housed right in the heart of the city’s historical and shopping centre, with an excellent location, and in one of the most emblematic buildings for the local community, the Pereira do Lago's 18th century palace.

In 2010 the Museum it was awarded by the Portuguese Museology Association with the prize for the Best Portuguese Museum, and in the same year was nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award, besides other awards and special commendations.

The Museum now enjoys a large exhibition and services area, providing it with the best conditions to welcome its visitors and users. Visitors can enjoy the five themed rooms in the Permanent Exhibition, dedicated to Identity, Territory, Archaeology, Crafts, and Land and Water, plus the temporary exhibition room, where the focus is on a clear and modern approach to the displays, supported by different levels of information aimed at a variety of audiences, and relying on many novel multimedia resources, where interaction, pedagogy and fun are the driving force. 

The collections, which were started at the end of the 19th century, mainly cover archaeology, ethnography and local history. The archaeological collection is the result of interventions carried out in the municipality. Ethnography has involved the regular collection of materials, with a view to understanding and contextualising existences, and to help prevent the permanent loss of objects related to agriculture, crafts, fishing and river transport, festivities, etc. Local history is making headway in the research and gathering of materials and documents produced or used in the municipality. 

The museographical handling of the items in the Permanent Exhibition was first and foremost an exercise in ensuring that the stands were suited to the nature and display of the objects. The singularity of each space has been metaphorically exploited and every effort has been made not to compromise the architecture with definitive exhibition solutions. The result is the creation of five different scenes and thematic areas, united by a shared history, that also convey five different viewpoints of the community that has lived here for thousands of years.