Ethnographic Museum of Madeira


At the beginning of the 17th century, the Santa Clara Convent of Funchal had direct ownership of several properties in the Ribeira Brava, a single-storey house on the old Rua da Bagaceira, a seventeenth-century denomination of the artery where today stands the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira, Was bought by Luís Gonçalves da Silva, captain of the Ribeira Brava ordinances, who married, in 1682, with D. Antónia de Meneses.

Captain Gonçalves da Silva then enlarged his house, adding a floor and, on the south side of the building, had a chapel built in 1710 dedicated to the patriarch St. Joseph, where he was to be buried. We can still see, although modified, implanted in the building where the Ethnographic Museum is located, the portal of the said chapel.

Luís Gonçalves da Silva and his wife, by testamentary disposition, made in 1716, instituted a perpetual bond imposed in the house where they resided, in several farms and in the very chapel of St. Joseph, which would only be abolished in 1860.
In 1853, José Maria Barreto, the last administrator of the San José link, converted the ruined solar into an industrial unit, and for this purpose he established a partnership with Jorge de Oliveira.

A sugar cane mill, animal traction and ale distillation plant was set up in 1862, with a new partner, Fr. João António de Macedo Correia e Freitas. Using hydraulic power, installing a wooden drive wheel that was served by a levada, and a sugar mill with three horizontal iron cylinders. In 1868, two mills of cereals also operated in that factory.

Successive transactions took place over the years, and finally, in 1974, the heirs of João Romão Teixeira, owners of the building, sold it to the General Board of the Autonomous District of Funchal.

The Regional Government of Madeira decided to install in the old sugar mill of Ribeira Brava the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira, designed by the architect João Francisco Caíres was inaugurated on June 15, 1996.

The Museum’s vocation is to research documentation, conservation and dissemination of the testimonies of traditional Madeiran culture. The Museum’s collection includes collections that cover various social, economic and cultural aspects of the Madeira archipelago, and ethnography is its area of ??vocation.

The permanent exhibition area is organized by themes: productive activities (fishing, production cycles of wine, cereals and flax), transport, domestic units (kitchen and bedroom) and traditional trade (grocery store).


Information Useful       

Guardianship: Direção Regional dos Assuntos Culturais
Address: Rua de São Francisco n.º 24, 9350-211 Ribeira Brava
Phone: (351)291 952 598
Fax: (351)291 957 313

Operation:Open from Tuesday to Friday from 9.30 am to 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 to 12.30 and from 13.30 to 17.30
Closed on Mondays and Holidays

Tickets: Normal: € 3.00
Age: 1.50 €
Youth Card: € 1.50
Groups (+ 6 people): € 2.50 (w / person)

Transportation: Buses 4, 6, 7, 80, 107, 115, 127, 139, 146.
Fast Track, Itinerary Funchal – Ribeira Brava