The Music Museum is a subordinate institution by the Institute of Museums and Conservation (IMC) which is one of the richest instrumental collections in Europe and several documentary spoils and phonographic and iconographic collections.
It has been open to the public since July 26, 1994 at Mills High underground station, benefiting from a sponsorship agreement signed between the former Portuguese Institute of Museums and Metropolitan of Lisboa.
The Museum has the mission to safeguard, preserve, study, enhance, disseminate and develop cultural property Museum, promoting musicological heritage, phonographic and organology Portuguese, with a view to encouraging the training and dissemination of Portuguese music culture.
This mission is reflected in a set of assignments which includes the preservation and study of collections, adding new specimens, conducting temporary exhibitions, editing publications, conducting educational tours, concerts, conferences and other events.
The Music Museum is housed on two floors of space (2000 sqm) adapted for this purpose, in the west wing of the Upper Mills subway station, option justified by the ease of access that is.
Upstairs are installed administrative services, a documentation center, a workshop of restoration of instruments, one organological design office, technical offices and reserves.
The underground floor houses the reception, support facilities, shop and exhibition area (which includes a multi-purpose area with seating for about a hundred people, which regularly take place various events: concerts, conferences and temporary exhibitions).
The museum is equipped with a climate control system essential to the conservation of the pieces, still providing access to people moving in wheelchairs through a stair lift which moves mechanically in a handrail.
The architectural project sought to take into account the particular characteristics resulting from Located right next to a metro station, so the input is designed to allow a visual transparency able to attract people circulating in the lobby of the station and simultaneously guarantee soundproofing.
To treat the general public, the public area, has a large open space. The large transparent surfaces and colors used contribute to the exhibits stand out as predominant elements, creating intimate and comfortable environments.
The history of the Music Museum is also the story of numerous personalities who accompanied him (Michel’angelo Lambertini) over the years, in bringing together the collections, looking for a suitable space for the pack, studying them, always with the aim to make them visible.
Specifically, the museum’s genesis dates back to 1911 when the musicologist Michel’angelo Lambertini manages to be appointed by the government to start collecting musical instruments, sheet music and musical iconography parts scattered in public and religious buildings.
The aim was to create a museum project that Lambertini dedicated with all the enthusiasm. However, the musicologist quickly faced with the unwillingness of the ruling class, which leads to re-equate the museum project, seeking help from individuals. He then uses António Carvalho Monteiro, also collector, to acquire the Keil collection, in danger of leaving the country. Sells him his own collection and invites him to go ahead with the project together.
Carvalho Monteiro accepts and gives a space for accommodation of organological specimens in a building of Rosemary Street, where gather all the collections Lambertini, Alfredo Keil and Carvalho Monteiro. The collection continued until the death of both, in 1920, at the Collection which totals a number greater than 500 specimens. Out would be the Lamas collection (auctioned by his heirs in 1916), of which some parts have possibly been acquired.
With the deaths of Carvalho Monteiro and of Lambertini, the project to create the instrumental museum is delayed. As a result, the collection gathered in Rosemary Street remains completely abandoned until, in 1931, when Tomás Borba, then a conservative at the Museum and Library of the National Conservatory, rediscovers it.
It is Borba who is in charge of carrying out the acquisition, the work of Carvalho Monteiro, (the estate was left unused), which is subsequently transferred to the National Conservatory. Later, also the instruments that had belonged to King Louis, and who were at the Ajuda Palace, join the collections as well as some pieces sold during the abandonment period in Rosemary Street, purchased at auction by the National Conservatory.
From 1946, with the reopening of the Conservatory after renovation, the museum is officially opened. It had taken a while to development of the museum.
In the early 70s, the space occupied by the museum becomes necessary, due to the creation of three new schools in the Conservatory – Dance, Film and Education through Art. Given the chance to own their own space, the 658 pieces, which then formed the collection are transferred in 1971 to the Palace Pepper in Campo Grande. They remain thereuntil 1975 in precarious conditions. This year, by João de Freitas Branco decision, then Secretary of State for Culture, and the Conservatory Music School, they are again transferred, this time to the National Library, where the musicologist Santiago Kastner begins the inventory of specimens.
During this period, commissions created for the museum installation discuss what better place to host the dignity music collection that continues to grow under the management of the Department of Musicology of the IPPC directed by Humberto D’Avila. Several buildings are seen as hypothesis: the Palaces Cabral and Ratton in Lisbon; the Belém Cultural Centre; Queluz Palace or the Convento de São Bento da Vitória in Oporto. For various reasons none of these claims went along.
In 1991, by decision of the Ministry of Culture, and corresponding to the direction of the will of the National Library, citing lack of space, the collections are packaged and transferred again, this time to the National Palace of Mafra, where they remain to opening of the museum in Upper Mills.
With the signing, on 1 October 1993, World Music Day, a protocol under the patronage of the law, between the Portuguese Institute of Museums (now the Institute of Museums and Conservation) and the Metropolitano de Lisboa, are finally the conditions for the realization of Lambertini’s dream. Once the available space in the Mills High subway station, the Music Museum is inaugurated on July 26, 1994.
The current permanent exhibition of the museum in relation to the exhibition “Sound Factory”, is a need of renovation that is compounded by the desire to give an account to almost fifteen years of existence the museum.
In this sense, we intend to provide a new expository speech resulting from the inclusion of more musical instruments (besides Europe, also African and Asian) grouped by families or according to their classifications standards. In the selection of parts we tried to once again focus on the plastic value and build quality, highlighting in each core Musical Instruments Portuguese bill.
Workshop for Research, Conservation and Restoration
Investigate the collections, save them and in order to restore, where appropriate, are essential tasks in a museum. The Music Museum has its own space where these works are developed. Some employees are studying and restoring the instruments, always with the aim of conserving the best conditions and in the future, expose them to the public.
The musical instruments are at the intersection of art designed to be seen and which is intended to be heard. Inherent in this double feature is a past history and technology that turns them into very valuable documents and whose maintenance requires great care.
The workshop work is decided according to the needs of the collection and the instruments individually and together. There are several interventions that an instrument can be subject: a cleaning which aims to prevent further degradation caused by accumulated impurities on the surface or from the change of the materials, such as metal degradation, for example; minimal intervention to stabilize change processes; without being embellished may be recovered all its aesthetics for the purpose of being photographed and exposed. It can also be made a structural restoration whose purpose is to return the instrument the ability to produce sound with harmony and organization that music implies.
It is during this process that notes, small tags or signatures hidden, invisible before a direct intervention on the object. All information collected is properly documented and filed in the instrument file for later use to researchers or to support new interventions.
As in other areas, each instrument is seen as a unique case. The basics are the same as those governing all conservation and restoration technicians, i.e. all acts must be weighed in order to know that information can be obtained and which is compromised.
The Music Museum has a specialized documentation center in organology, history and theory of music, where you can find works of reference for the study of music.
A visit to the documentation center will make possible a contact with information about the world music instruments (its construction, history, representation in works of art – musical iconography), musicians, music history, among others. Is oriented to classical music, however, it can also find some references to popular music, fado, contemporary music, jazz.
Can be found close to 3,000 works, from theses, facsimiles of treaties and instrumental methods, tools catalogs of museums and exhibitions; multiple numbers of such important journals such as the Musical Art, Early Music, Le Monde la Musique, Rhythm or World of Music; some work on the instruments of the museum’s collections and the builders of musical instruments.