All of the museums discussed can be reached easily by train or car and are worth traveling to in order to delve a little deeper into Portugal to truly appreciate what the country has to offer.
Museu Dos Exilios
Situated at the heart of Estoril and on the top most floor of the Post Office, this is more than a museum. It serves as a memorial for all the refugees and exiles who sought refuge and passage during a number of significant
European conflicts. Chief among these terrible times was World War II when between 1936-1955, Kings, artists, free thinkers, spies, businessmen and a host of anonymous people sought shelter within
this small town.
The Meseu Dos Exilios, or Memory of Exiles Mesuem, was opened in 1999. The building in which it is housed was itself built in 1942 following the designs of the architect Adelino Nunes, a modernist. The store of information within this memorial was created drawing from data recorded in the Cascais Municipal Historical Archives and includes photographs, time reference material and other objects.
Aside from the permanent exhibition, the Museum also houses an auditorium, a library based solely on the theme of exile, and a temporary exhibition room which seats 60 and can be used to screen documentaries, host conferences, or for book launches. The museum offers guided tours
and is open from 10 am to 6 pm every weekday.
Casa Verdades de Faria, Museu da Musica Regional
Casa Verdades de Faria, or the Home Truth Faria, was constructed in 1918 by George O’Neil. It was previously known as the Tower of St. Patrick. The design itself was drawn up by Raul Lino, who incorporated stain glass windows and painted tiles. The Tower of St. Patrick was later acquired by Enrique Mantero in 1942, whose wife Gertrude Truths Faria, a connoisseur of art, encouraged both professional art as well as cultural gatherings.
Upon his wife’s death, Mantero willed the tower to the town
of Estoril itself, to function as the House Museum and Garden and it was renamed Truths Faria. Later in
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1981, the town acquired ethnographic objects and a musical collection that belonged to the famous Portuguese ethno-musicologist Michel Giacommetti, which were then housed at Truth’s Faria. Six years later, the museum was once again renamed the ‘Regional Portuguese Music Museum’.
Museu dos Condes de Castro Guimarães
The Counts of Castro de Guimaraes Museum is the oldest museum in Cascais, and is housed within the palace which it is named for. The palace was also built by George O’Neil, but was then known as the Tower of St. Sebastian. It was sold to the Condes de Castro Guimaraes in 1910. The Earl and his wife lived in
the palace and decorated it with many significant works of art, of which the most beautiful and valuable are displayed within the museum today –
- A neo-gothic organ which was constructed specially for the Earl.
- The chronicle of the life of ‘D. Afonso Henriques’ by Duarte Galvao.
The place itself was built on an inlet near the sea and it is in fact so close to the sea that during high tide the water comes up almost to its doorstep. The museum also houses some beautiful paintings and Portuguese furniture, and its library is open to the public. The library is home to over 25,000 books, including 17th century manuscripts.
Surrounding the palace is a beautiful garden which includes a small zoo. The museum is open every day except Monday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos
The Sea Museum which is located in Cascais, was in 1997 renamed the ‘Sea Museum- King Carlos’. It is housed within the former porting Club of Cascais, which was constructed by Prince Charles in 1979. By 1976 the property was handed over to the Municipality of Cascais, and today it houses an exhibition of maritime ethnography pertaining to the fishing community of Cascais.
The museum houses different exhibition such as –
- Cascais Route Wrecks.
- People of the Sea Fisheries.
- Navigation and Seamanship.
- D. Carlos and Oceanographic Science.
- The Sea and the Origin of Life.
The museum also hosts a number of conferences and seminars. It is closed on Mondays but open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am- 5 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am-1 pm and 2 pm-5 pm.
The museums in and around Estoril are truly magnificent. They speak of a centuries old culture and one that is truly valued by the locals. Tourists from all around the world visit
these museums every year and if you are fortunate enough to travel to this region, we recommend that you take the time to visit them, too.