© Nicola Di Nunzio

MUNICIPAL

MUSEUM OF ETHNOGRAPHY

The Ethnographic Museum is currently undergoing requalification works and will soon present its collection in a renovated exhibition model. Be on the lookout for its reopening and come and get to know the traditional arts and crafts that, until relatively recent times, were of special significance in this territory.

THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING

Inaugurated in 1987, the Museum of Ethnography occupies the building of the old municipal market, part of a small block outlined by the public spaces of Rua das Portas de Sevilha, Largo do Côrro and Travessa do Côrro. Largo do Côrro appears in plants of the town from the 15th century but with no vestiges of constructions on the outer side of the wall. By the 17th and 18th centuries, it was already defined by blocks to the north, east and south but it was only in the 19th century that it also became delimited to the west. In the 19th century it was used as a daily market and for holding bullfights on festive occasions (a fact that will lead to its name) and it is because of this new usage of the public space that the municipal market is built, to be inaugurated in the year 1889. In the eighties of the 20th century this building was recovered and remodelled by the architect Alfredo Saldanha and adapted to new functions - of Museum of Ethnography - to house one of the largest collections of objects, artefacts and costumes (about a thousand pieces) of Baixo Alentejo ethnography.

Works are underway to recover the construction system, remodel the sanitary facilities to meet the needs of people with reduced mobility and install a lift platform for access to the upper exhibition floor.

© CMS

A RENEWED SPACE FOR TRADITIONAL ARTS AND CRAFTS

"Without memory, we do not exist", says the guide to this lovely museum, installed in the former municipal market, which portrays different trades and crafts that once were of special significance to local life.

The collection, made up of assorted artefacts and utensils related to the crafts of albardeiro (pack-saddle maker), abegão (land agent responsible for farm cattle and tools), tailor, barber, chair-maker,  carpenter, basket-maker, farrier, blacksmith, tinsmith, potter, cheesemaker and cobbler, constitutes an important part of the memory of the world of work in the municipality.

The observation and interpretation of these objects tell us a lot about the traditional technical and technological know-how associated with these arts, allowing us to imagine everyday life, recreate gestures, ponder on the usefulness of each function and, perhaps, recover some of our memories.

The significant transformations on agricultural techniques in the mid-twentieth century, the abandonment of the fields in the 1960s, the replacement of draft animals by machines and the disuse of traditional agricultural implements dictated the decline of many trades which ancestral existence was based on agriculture and, globally, on the ways of life of a rural society. This museum seeks to restore their dignity and give a new dimension to the gestural and technological memory of the artisans.

"Without memory, we do not exist", says the guide to this lovely museum, installed in the former municipal market, which portrays different trades and crafts that once were of special significance to local life.

In a time of uniformity and loss of distinctive characteristics, this is a space that marks the difference and reminds us of the importance of our roots and of the specificity and singularity of those references, as well as of their importance to the identity and sense of belonging to a cultural territory.

Many of the collections were kindly made available by private individuals, reflecting how sensitive the local community is to the importance of its heritage, taking part in its enhancement and making it available to those who visit the municipality.

ADDRESS

Largo do Côrro – 7830 Serpa

HOURS

Tuesday to Sunday
From 9h00 to 12h30 and 14h00 to 17h30 

 

CLOSED

New Year’s Day, May 1st, April 25th, Christmas Day and Municipal Holiday

TELEFONE

00351 284 549 130

EMAIL

museuetnografico@cm-serpa.pt

OBSERVAÇÕES

CLOSED FOR RENEWAL WORKS

Free admission
Guided tours by previous appointment
Gift shop with several books and postcards of the museum

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(click on the photos to check the credits)

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