It was founded in 1911, under the influence of intellectuals of Aveiro, in the former Convent of Jesus in Aveiro. At first, the building was partially occupied by the Museum, with the remainder used for other public offices. By pressure, with the political powers, the Museum turned out to gradually occupy the entire building that had been the Dominican convent of cloistered, founded in 1461, by D. Brites sow, Infante Circle Lady Pedro.
The prestige of this monastic house is from the fifteenth century, associated with the presence and holiness tradition of Infante D. Joana Afonso V‘s daughter, which it joined in 1471. Beatified in 1693, it is now the patron saint of Aveiro.
The building suffered structural and exhibition changes over time, most notably those of the director Alberto Souto, in the 40 recently benefited from profound works of expansion and redevelopment, a project by Arch. Alcino Soutinho.
In addition to the permanent exhibition, the tour circuit includes a route by spaces convent survivors, with particular emphasis on the Church of Jesus and the tomb of Princess Santa Joana, both national monuments.
The Museum offers a visit circuit with two distinct but complementary parts, the monumental route and the permanent exhibition.
The route shows the monumental spaces of the former Convent of Jesus that have survived to the present day. They are, for the most part, sacred places, since the private areas disappeared due to successive works building adaptation to college and museum. Gone are the cells, the infirmary, pharmacy, workshops and barns. Survive some traces of the kitchens in the current cafeteria area.
Convent can be seen on the ground floor, the low Choir, with the Tomb of Princess Santa Joana, the Church of Jesus, connecting the Holy Chapel Augustine and the cloister, with its chapels, the Chapter Room and Cafeteria.
Upstairs, the Cloister leads to the high choir and devotional chapels that are contiguous.
The permanent exhibition features sacred art collections mainly from the Convent of Jesus but also to other convents of Aveiro, Coimbra and Lisbon.
The initial core of the exhibition is dedicated to the cult and iconography of Santa Joana Princesa, starting with the images and relics that come out every year in procession on May 12, the anniversary of his death.
This room onwards, the collections of painting, sculpture and furniture are displayed in chronological order, from the fifteenth century until the nineteenth century, following the great periods agreed by art history studies.
The exhibition route also includes two convent chapels, the memorial chapel of Santa Joana Princesa, known for Lavor room and the Chapel of Senhor dos Passos.
The collections of books and documents, textiles and jewelry are displayed in themed rooms. The collection of the Chapel of St. Dominic and the Order of the Saints, once built in the convent courtyard, is also presented in themed room.
The Museum of Aveiro conducts thematic guided tours and collections aimed at the general public and schools.
It is also conduct educational meetings with teachers, theater activities, dance and painting workshops.