19 June 2013
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Ground plan of the Museum
Roman Numismatics (coins)
Contemporary Painting and Sculpture
Weights and Measurements
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A brief history of the Museum
The ancient building of the Seminary of Guarda, one of the very first of its kind in Portugal, was built by D. Nuno de Noronha in the first decades of the 17th century, under the rule of the Spanish Phillips. It was built with the diocese’s funds and strictly according to the determinations of the Council of Trent, a condition that is engraved in the lintel at the main entrance.
The edifice was built outside of the walled perimeter of the city, in the slope throughout which it was already growing. One could surmise its future urban sprawl.
After the Instauration of the Republic in 1910 the space, which had been until then a place of spiritual and intellectual education for the younger people, was re-established as the office for several public services.
Later on, in 1920, and according to Law 1032, the building’s management was placed under the control of the City Council of Guarda. The City Council opened there administrative bureaus and public services. From then on the edifice held several military services of the Ministry of War and a District Jail up until the ‘50s. The National Republican Guard occupied a large part of the building until 1983. Finally, created by the City Council, the Regional Museum of Guarda found its headquarters there.
The Regional Museum of Guarda was founded in 1940, July the 30th, within the framework of the local commemorations of the Centenary Festival, and its main goal was to make know the region’s culture. For 43 years, and under several rules of the autarchic power, the Museum never did manage to reach those original goals. Point in fact, the absence of a museological plan, of a specific budget, and of its own space and qualified staff hampered substantially the development of the museum unit.
When it opened to the public in 1940, the assets of the then Regional Museum of Guarda were small and unsystematized. The space and architectural problems were also quite serious. It was nonetheless possible to gather a significant number of objects that allowed for the institution’s public opening. The opening exhibition presented up to 400 pieces distributed in six thematically organised rooms: a gallery with paintings made in oil, watercolours and pastel, and with drawings and engravings as well; a
sacred art room
; painting and sculpture in variegated materials, furniture and paraments; and a room with several ceramic, tin and copper pieces. In the Museum hall and corridors archaeological pieces were exhibited along with fragments from wood carved pieces (intaglio), weights, measures, coins and several pieces
. The only single collection that had some kind of chronological and typological structure was that of contemporary painting.
In order for the exhibition to open, and in accordance to lawyer and politician Ernesto Pereira’s project, the role of visual artist Eduarda Lapa was crucial. She donated some of her own work to start with but it was her dedication and vibrancy in the assembly of the contemporary painting collection that was the key factor: the fact is that some of the best national artists are included in that collection, an integrant part today of the Museum’s general collection.
Besides Ernesto Pereira and Eduarda Lapa, one must also underline the role of some other people, such as Teodósio Ferreira, another painter, Alfredo Filipe, a lawyer and patron of the Museum, and Carlos Martins, a teacher and numismatic collector.
The only event that would have some cultural impact in the long term would be held in 1942, which consisted of a sacred art exhibition. Aiming to be a survey and a conservation act of the district’s cultural and artistic heritage, the pieces were exhibited in the Museum. The results were not the expected ones, however, for the institution was not able to consolidate and widen its collections. In the ‘50s, in an attempt to organize them, each room was named after a patron. In the case of the painters-donators, the rooms would gather the works created and donated by the respective artist, and in the case of the other donators,
the donated collections
. The Eduarda Lapa, Teodósio Ferreira, Henrique Pimenta and Eduardo Malta’s rooms are examples of this innovation, but it brought little positive museological results.
Afterwards, in the early ‘60s, under the auspices of Guarda’s District council, the Museum’s space was widened; therefore its exhibition space and the number of exhibited pieces grew twofold. Within this period, art objects were added to the Museum’s collection, especially due to the donations of armoury pieces by António Moura and to the bequeathing of part of poet Augusto Gil’s legacy.
Consequently, the number of patronised rooms was also extended. In this framework, the Alfredo Filipe room was opened, at one time paying homage and acknowledging his perennial dedication and contribution to the Museum.
The present Museum of Guarda
is the inheritor of the Regional Museum of Guarda.
In truth, in 1983 the institution was greatly refashioned in order to fulfil effectively its museum function. Due to the role of the Portuguese Institute of Cultural Heritage, it became an object of the new policy of the National Museum Plan, which aimed at the improvement of the museological network of the country. Opening its doors to the public in 1985, June the 24th, renamed as Museum of Guarda, it was under the technical and administrative power of the aforementioned Institute.
Apart from the physical growth of its premises, the clear definition of its goals, the preparation of a budget of its own, as well as the appointment of exclusive staff, the museological plan followed the notion of a regional museum, that is to say it concentrated on the Museum of Guarda’s promotion and divulgation and allowed it to take on a new responsibility especially where its social, cultural and educational roles were concerned. It thus became an entity representative of its own district.
28 November 2007
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Museum of Guarda
Rua General Alves Roçadas, 30
6300 - 663 Guarda
Phone: (351) 271 213 460
Fax: (351) 271 223 221
17 June 2013
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