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International Museum Day and Night with Activities Nationwide

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On May 18, Portugal will come alive with an array of cultural festivities as it celebrates International Museum Day and Night. This significant event, which has been held annually since 1997, aims to strengthen the ties between museums and society through various cultural activities. This year’s theme, “Museums, Education, and Research,” resonates deeply with the mission of Portuguese museums to foster learning and cultural enrichment.

A Nationwide Celebration

The public company Museus e Monumentos de Portugal (MMP) has issued a challenge to 38 national museums and monuments, along with the 169 museum spaces in the Portuguese Museum Network, to join in the celebrations. The result is an impressive lineup of 258 activities spread across the country, many of which are free of charge. This year, International Museum Day coincides with European Museum Night, offering visitors the unique opportunity to experience these cultural treasures under the stars.

Highlights from North to South

Braga and Porto

The festivities kick off on Thursday, with events such as “A Sound Journey Through Musical Education” at the Museu dos Biscainhos in Braga. This concert/recital combines music with the historical setting of the museum. In Porto, the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis offers a “Visit at Night and with Lanterns!”—a truly magical experience.

At the Mosteiro de Leça do Balio, visitors will be treated to the first public exhibition of “Descida da Cruz” by Portuguese painter Domingos Sequeira. This masterpiece will later be displayed at the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis starting June 1st.

Caldas da Rainha and Conímbriga

In Caldas da Rainha, the Museu José Malhoa will host a piano performance by Gerardo Rodrigues, marking both International Museum Day and European Museum Night. The Museu Nacional de Conímbriga will feature presentations of master’s and doctoral research conducted at the museum, showcasing the intersection of education and cultural heritage.

Coimbra and Leiria

Coimbra’s municipal museum offers a dramatized guided tour titled “O Guarda Chaves Sobe à Torre de Almedina,” designed for the general public and children over six. In the district of Leiria, the Mosteiro de Alcobaça will conduct a workshop called “A Journey Through Time: What is it like to be a Monk?” This event will take place in the Scriptorium, where medieval monk copyists once created illuminated manuscripts.

Lisbon’s Rich Offerings

The capital city, Lisbon, is not to be outdone. The Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga has planned a family-oriented visit-game centered on “Portrait of an Artist: The Art of Domingos Sequeira.” During European Museum Night, the Casa-Museu Anastácio Gonçalves will host “A Musical and Literary Soirée from the Early 20th Century,” a unique performance by the Movimento Patrimonial para a Música Portuguesa.

At the Museu Nacional de Etnologia, guided tours of the “Galerias da Amazónia” will provide insight into the collections of Amazonian cultures, featuring over 1,700 objects from 37 indigenous peoples.

Unique Experiences Across Portugal

In Beja, the Museu Rainha D. Leonor will take to the streets with workshops as part of the “Museu na Rua” initiative. Over in Funchal, the Museu Quinta das Cruzes will transport visitors back in time with an 18th-century ball.

The Role of Museums in Education and Research

This year’s theme, “Museums, Education, and Research,” underscores the crucial role museums play in society. According to the MMP, this celebration highlights the fundamental role museums serve as dynamic educational institutions that promote learning, discovery, and cultural understanding.

Annually, more than 40,000 museums worldwide participate in International Museum Day, organizing activities such as guided tours, book launches, historical reenactments, and conferences. Portugal’s extensive program this year is a testament to its commitment to cultural education and community engagement.

Plan Your Visit

With so many activities planned, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun family outing, International Museum Day and Night offers a wealth of experiences. For a complete and updated list of activities, visit the official website at https://dim.museusemonumentospt.pt/.

Join the Celebration

International Museum Day and Night is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of culture, education, and community. By participating, you’ll be part of a global movement that values the preservation and appreciation of our shared heritage.

Mark your calendars, gather your friends and family, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry that Portugal’s museums have to offer. This May 18, let’s celebrate the power of museums to educate, inspire, and connect us all.


For more travel tips and cultural insights, follow EnterPortugal on social media. Share your experiences using #InternationalMuseumDayPT and #MuseumsNightPT.

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