City History Museum

​An admirable new museum rises below ground for the purpose of opening the life’s book of a territory and of a special people. The invitation to visit the City History Museum is done well in advance, while everything is being lined up to explain to us, in an interactive and playful way, how Porto became Porto.

They are collections, documentary relics and objects, collected over several decades, along with the thousands of hours of research coordinated by the team of Alexandra Cerveira Lima, head of the Municipal Museum and Cultural Heritage Department, who in this endeavour has also "listened to researchers and archaeologists who have had archaeological works in the city and may have relevant pieces and information", to bring to the surface narratives that have water as the guiding thread, she says.

Deactivated since 1998 (when the new reservoir came into operation on the adjacent plot), the former Water Reservoir of Pasteleira Park will become a museological hub, but the designation "Reservoir" is to be maintained. According to Alexandra Cerveira Lima, the name fits the new functions of the tank-space: "a reservoir of objects and knowledge, of traces of human occupation discovered in the territory over time, of memories and stories."

Once the rehabilitation works carried out by the municipal company have been completed, the multidisciplinary team coordinated by Alexandra Cerveira Lima have begun to work. "One of the objectives is to allow the visitor to access a series of information relevant to understanding the evolutionary process in the transformation of the present urban space. That is, History, in its great stages of development - through subjects such as Archeology, Architecture, Urbanism and Geography - becomes the background that contextualizes the objects exhibited in the museum", explains the municipal leader.

The new museum "is designed to develop ten centres and also has an area dedicated to temporary exhibitions". The different programmatic contents - the Reservoir; the river Douro; the origin of the first settlements; Romanization period; control of the territory (roads and gates); power and the city; the territorial expansion during the time of the Almada family; liberalism and the siege of Porto; the evolution of population and of migrations at the time of industrialization, and the plans of the modern city - will be divided sequentially, inviting visitors to go back to the first collective settlements that began to gather in the Bronze Age.

The first temporary exhibition has already a theme set: the 200-year celebration of liberalism in Porto, which will be included in a wide range of municipal initiatives around this event.


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Published 08-06-2018