Museums » Madeira Ethnographic Museum
Useful Information
Institution in charge:
Department of Culture

Rua de São Francisco n.º 24
9350-211 Ribeira Brava
(351)291 952 598
(351)291 957 313

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 9.30am - 5.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am - 12:30pm; 1:30pm – 5:30pm
Closed on Sundays, Mondays and Bank-holidays.

Regular ticket: 3,00 €
Pensioners: 1,50 €
Youngsters-card: 1,50 €
Groups (+ 6): 2,50 € (per person)

4, 6, 7, 80, 107, 115, 127, 139, 146
Itinerary Funchal – Ribeira Brava.
   Museu Etnográfico
Fachada do solar de S. José, antes da recuperação Foto: arquivo DRC, início dos anos 80

In the early seventeenth century, the Convent of Santa Clara in Funchal, had the direct control of several properties in Ribeira Brava, one-story house in the old Rua da Bagaceira, a seventeenth century artery where is now the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira. The house outside of Funchal, was acquired by Gonçalves da Silva, captain of the ordinances of Ribeira Brava, who married in 1682, with D. Antonia Meneses. 
Captain Gonçalves da Silva, then expanded his housing, and added a floor in the southern flank of the building, ordered the construction in 1710, of a chapel dedicated to the patriarch St. Joseph, where he would be buried. Although modified we still can see, implemented in the building where the Ethnographic Museum is installed, the chapel ´s doorway. 
Gonçalves da Silva and his wife by testamentary disposition made in 1716, established a perpetual bond imposed in the house where they lived, in several farms and in their own chapel of St. Joseph, which was only abolished in 1860. In 1853, José Maria Barreto, administrator of the last bond of St. Joseph, converted the ruined property into a solar plant, and to this end established a partnership with Jorge de Oliveira. 
Then there was mounted an animal traction mill for grinding sugar cane, and a brandy distillery. In 1862 the manufacturing company, with a new partner, Father João António de Macedo Correia and Freitas, now using hydraulic power, settling in that year, a driving wheel of wood, served by a levada ( a typical Madeiran route of water), and a mill for grinding cane with three horizontal iron cylinders. In 1868, also worked at that factory two grain mills. 
Over the years successive transactions of shares of the company occurred and finally in 1974, the heirs of João Teixeira, the building owners, sold it to the General Board of Autonomous District of Funchal. 
The Madeira Regional Government decided to install the Ribeira Brava Madeira Ethnographic Museum in the old mill, designed by the architect João Francisco Caires and inaugurated on 15th June 1996. 
The Museum has the vocation to research, persevere and disseminate the evidence of the traditional Madeiran culture. The Museum includes collections covering various aspects of social, economic and cultural life in Madeira archipelago, being ethnography the vocation area. 
The area of the permanent exhibition is organized by themes: production activities (fishing, production cycles of the wine, grain and flax), transport, households (kitchen and bedroom) and traditional shops (grocery store).

Concerning the educational level , the institution seeks to raise awareness of a participatory regional ethnographic heritage, promoting the link between school / museum / community, awareness of the importance of knowledge and preservation of cultural heritage, to awaken a critical sense and aesthetic sensibility and foster a taste for the discovery.

Planned Activities
Guided tours for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd cycles of primary and secondary education.
Guide quizzes, games and other fun activities taking into account different levels of education and to address thematic interests from the perspective of non-formal education.

Information and Registration
The guided tours must be pre-marked and should still be confirmed by phone, fax or email.
The groups must be accompanied by a teacher or other responsible member. Each group should not exceed the maximum number of 25 students.
The museum has a shop with the same opening hours.
In this space there are museum editions and other cultural issues and genuine handicrafts from Madeira, available to the public.
Access to the collections in reserve "Artefacts em Heather"
Atividades Museu Etnográfico da Madeira
Local: Madeira Theme Park - Santana
Período:  March 4th to September 4th 2020
Projeto: Project: Access to the collections in store.
Texto: Fernando Libano e Lídia Goes Ferreira
Fotografia: Fernando Libano
Objetivos: With the objective of providing a greater rotation of the collections, the museum continues the project called "Access to collections in Reserve", presenting a new theme every six months.
The aim of this exhibition is to disseminate an ancestral tradition, underlying a know-how that is part of our material and immaterial cultural heritage and that represents the cultural heritage of past generations.
Conteúdos: Since the island of Madeira is very rich in natural resources, man has used, since the beginning of his occupation, the use of some raw materials, supplied by the environment, to meet his pressing needs and make utilitarian pieces.
In the project "Access to Collections in Reserve" of the first semester of the year, it is intended to make the public aware of the processes of making different artifacts, made with heather wood, an endemic species whose wood is very resistant and long lasting. With this raw material, artisans make basketry, utensils related to agricultural work or household utensils.
Heather also builds traditional balconies, or the structures popularly known as mato bard, that is, hedges that, in coastal areas, protect vineyards and crops, from the wind and sea air.
Some references in our toponymy are testimonies of the importance of this plant and its presence in the archipelago. This species also has some medicinal properties.
The Art of Wickerwork: “Wrapping carboys with straw”
Atividades Museu Etnográfico da Madeira
Local: Exhibition hall of the Ethnografic Museum of Madeira
Período: January 21 to July 19, 2020
Projeto: Project: Access to the collections in store.
Texto: Dalila Fernandes, Fernando Libano e Lídia Góes Ferreira
Fotografia: Dalila Fernandes, Fernando Libano e Florêncio Pereira
Objetivos: In order to provide a greater rotation of the collections, the museum proceeds with the project entitled “Access to the Collections in Store”, with a new thematic every six months.
The aim of this exhibition is to disclose an ancestral tradition, underlying to a know-how that is part of our immaterial cultural heritage and represents the cultural heritage of past generations.
The exhibition is about a technique applied to wicker, like basketry, in matter of raw materials, techniques and tools used by craftsmen.
Conteúdos: The museum demonstrates to its guests the different stages of the making of these utilitarian items, with works by Fernando Humberto de Castro, from Moreno, Ribeira Brava, who uses “liaça” and Manuel Albino dos Santos, from Fajã dos Vinháticos, São Vicente, who works with the whole wicker.
The wicker is a material of plant origin, used since ancient times. It is a soft, flexible, long stem or stick taken from the wicker plant. It played a fundamental role in daily life, as it was the raw material used in the manufacture of several utilitarian and decorative objects, namely basketry and furniture, and was also used in the packaging of bottles and carboys.
Once very abundant in Madeira, the wicker culture shortens down to small productions currently made in the parishes of Camacha, Boaventura and Nun’s Valley.
The wicker is pruned in the first three months of the year. It is cooked in a cauldron in high temperatures, then is peeled by hand, a work usually done by women, and dried in the sun before use.

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Contents: DRC - Department of Culture

Regional Secretariat for Tourism and Culture / Department of Culture