If you want to learn more about the Algarve, there is no better way to do it than to visit a Museum. Spread a little throughout the region, local museums have very unique collections that will take you to travel through time.
Here are some suggestions to visit with your family during your next vacation in the Algarve:
Dr. José Formosinho Municipal Museum (Lagos)
Founded in 1932, on the initiative of its patron, José dos Santos Pimenta Formosinho, the Museum quickly developed through joint efforts, where the archaeological excavations carried out by the founder proved extremely important for the enrichment of the collections, as well as the constant donations from which the Museum was targeted, and which currently make it a multidisciplinary museum.
It has a large estate, distributed by the sections of Archeology, Sacred Art, History of Lagos, Ethnography of Algarve, Painting, Numismatics, Mineralogy and Overseas Ethnography. It has unique collections and unique museum pieces in Portugal that, in themselves, justify a visit.
Museum of Archeology (Silves)
Inaugurated in 1990, the Municipal Museum of Archeology of Silves is assumed in the cultural and patrimonial context of this region as a point of obligatory passage for those who visit the Algarve and intends to know its History and the origins of the occupation of the territory. The important work of engineering / architecture dating from the late twelfth century, beginning of the thirteenth century, the Almohad cistern, classified as a National Monument since 1990, assumes itself as ex-libris of the Museum. This structure presents itself as the centerpiece of the exhibition, and the construction of this equipment was directly associated to its discovery in the 80’s of the 20th century. Excavated at about 18 meters deep, reaching groundwater levels, its central space unfolds in a spiral gallery, formed by staircase, covered by vaulted segments segmented and circular.
The exhibition is made up of archaeological pieces that go back to prehistory, beginning of the occupation of the territory corresponding to the present county of Silves, passing through the periods of the iron age, Roman occupation and Islamic occupation, being this one that holds more representation in the exhibition, either by the quantity of the estate, or by the aesthetic quality and diversity of the forms used.
Also noteworthy are the pieces from the Christian Medieval period, produced locally or imported from the great producing centers, such as the Valencian, Italian and distant China workshops, which testify to the permanence of the city of Silves in the then existing trade routes.
Maritime Museum Admiral Ramalho Ortigão (Faro)
Maritime Museum “Almirante Ramalho Ortigão”, currently based in the Port Authority of Faro since 1962, was organized from the collection of the suppressed Industrial Maritime Museum, connected to the extinct Pedro Nunes Industrial School.
Created by order of January 4, 1889, its collection was formed from objects and models ordered to be built privately by the officer of the Navy, António Artur Baldaque da Silva. Subsequently, on the proposal of Inspector Fonseca Benevides, this collection was acquired by the Government, and it gradually increased in the following years. The important contribution of the then Commander Ramalho Ortigão in the preservation, reorganization and installation of the Museum in the present building stands out, providing to the city of Faro an important work from the scientific and historical point of view.
Passing through various locations, including transferring it to the Navy Museum in Lisbon in 1929, the Maritime Museum is currently exhibiting an ethnographic collection on maritime activity and fishing in the Algarve. It has 3 different rooms – Baldaque da Silva, Lyster Franco, Manuel Bívar – where fishing vessels and other vessels, fishing apparatus and utensils, instruments, instruments and on-board material are exposed, among others. It also integrates a library with bibliography in various scientific areas.
Costume Museum (S. Bras de Alportel)
The Museum is housed in a 19th century mansion surrounded by old farm houses and vegetable garden. The exhibits address the contexts and problems of the Algarve making use of its resource par excellence that is the historical clothing. In its ethnographic spaces, highlighting the cork industry activity, the museum divulges and exposes the identity traits of the interior and mountain populations of the Algarve – geocultural areas where it is located.
Inspired by the principles of Social Museology, this museum assumes itself as a community space with a very particular working model. It is based in structures and some departments where volunteering is dominant. It has a very important participation of the local community and accommodates in its spaces initiatives of creation of self-employment in the cultural area.
The Friends of the Museum offers a monthly program of activities with about 30 different modalities, ranging from the plastic arts to the theater to choral music, opera, dance, jazz, photography, gardening, lace and embroidery, etc.
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