On May 18, the International Museum Day is celebrated. In Portugal, 70 entities from 38 counties celebrate this day with more than 400 activities, under the theme of recovery and “reimagination” in a world affected by the pandemic.
The Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) challenged national museums and the Portuguese network to create special programs to mark International Museum Day, May 18, with a face-to-face and online offer. Under the theme of recovery and ‘reimagination’ in a world affected by the pandemic, more than 400 activities, from the north to the south of the country, will open doors and challenge the public to participate in a different program.
As part of the celebrations, the DGPC will launch, on the 17th and 18th of May, the “My Museum” campaign, with the objective of, in the next three years, bringing together and opening museums, monuments and palaces to new audiences in Portugal , “Using art and innovation to give new life to local museums”. The campaign, which was carried out in partnership with the creative studio Manicómio the Agência, will have two street actions, in Évora and Viseu.
After the absence, in 2020, due to the pandemic, the European Night of Museums – an initiative created in 2005 by the French Ministry of Culture, and adopted by several countries – is celebrated on Saturday, with multiple activities, challenging visitors to enjoy an experience cultural at night.
The celebration takes place across the country and, in Lisbon, at the National Costume Museum, the Museum Night is celebrated with “Stories from a magic mirror”, between 6 pm and 7 pm, in a studio that teaches how to create jewelry for the character Alice in Wonderland, and decorate the Mad Hatter with colorful buttons. In the National Palace of Ajuda, guided and themed visits will take place between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm, to show, along the route of the museum, some of its pieces and spaces of choice, namely Bohemian glass from Queen Maria Pia, silks, lacquers, armor and tapestries. On Saturday and May 18, the Torre de Belém will remain closed, for an asset appreciation action, according to the DGPC.
The National Museum of Ancient Art, in Lisbon, will inaugurate a new temporary exhibition, entitled “The Utopian Collection. The Museu do Caramulo comes to MNAA”, with a selection of works from the Museu do Caramulo – Fundação Abel and João de Lacerda, which travels to Lisbon and settles in the Sala dos Passos Perdidos of this museum in the capital, until September 26th.
In Vila Franca de Xira, at the Museum of Neorealism, workshops will be held between 15:00 and 21:00 on “Deconstructing a Work of Art”, and a workshop visit within the scope of the “Representations of the People” exhibition. In Coimbra, at the Machado de Castro National Museum, the initiative “Conservation and restoration – Objects and time” will take place, between 2 pm and 5 pm, a Conservation and restoration action for a group of pieces in accessible space, and in articulation with the public.
In the north of the country, in Porto, with the reopening of the Soares dos Reis National Museum, visitors will have guided sessions, between 6 pm and 10:30 pm, at the temporary exhibitions “India in Portugal – a time of artistic confluences”, “José Reggio [Re] Visitations to the Ivory Tower ”and“ Depositorium… 1 ”. In this symbolic celebration, at 8:00 pm the Saxophone Ensemble Vento do Norte group will perform. In Guimarães, visits to Paço dos Duques will be free from 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm, using new technologies to discover the rooms and their collections.
In Faro, at the Municipal Museum, guided and themed visits will be made to the exhibition “Trinta e Sete”, between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm, with a conversation with the artist Susana de Medeiros about the creative process that gave rise to the pieces in the exhibition. In the Azores, in Ponta Delgada, the Carlos Machado Museum celebrates the date with the initiative “Draw in the dark with Urban Sketchers”, between 9 pm and 10:30 pm, on a guided tour of the natural history circuit.
In Portugal, as in other countries, the measures to contain the pandemic forced the closure of cultural spaces, and the approximately 660 museums felt, in 2020, a 70% to 80% drop in visitors and, consequently, of the same order in revenues. . Data from the International Council of Museums (ICOM) indicate that European museums lost between 25% and 75% of visitors, with 10% in a lay-off situation, while seven out of ten expect budget cuts in the coming years due to the destructive impact of the pandemic. However, underlines the ICOM, “the crisis also served as a catalyst for crucial innovations that were already underway, namely in digitization, creation of new forms of cultural experiences and communication”.
In 2020, despite the limitations of the pandemic, which imposed activities on digital platforms, ICOM says that these involved more than 83 million people on social networks, on May 18 alone.
Since January 15, 2021, cultural spaces have closed again due to the confinement decreed by the Government to contain the spread of the covid-19 virus. However, on April 5, museums, monuments, palaces and art galleries reopened to the public and received 26,223 visitors in the first three weeks, according to data revealed by the DGPC on Wednesday.