If by chance any of the 20 million tourists who annually choose Macao decided to tour all 21 museums in the territory and to dedicate only an hour to each of them, he would have to spend at least three fully occupied days in Macao. The city boasts an impressive number of museums which showcase a wide variety of subjects for all those interested in a comprehensive overview of Macao’s history.
It wasn’t always like this. In the late 1980s Macao only had the Luís de Camões Museum, then located in the Casa Garden next door to the garden named after Portugal’s greatest poet. It was managed by the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (former Leal Senado) and famous for its refined and valuable collection of Chinese ceramics and paintings by George Chinnery and his disciple Lam Qua, two of the most important artists of the China Trade school.
Macao’s museums took a quantitative and qualitative leap forward when the countdown began for the enclave’s return to the People’s Republic of China.
The former Portuguese administration of Macao then began a process of opening spaces dedicated to the historic memory, to promote a collective conscience built on recollections of a common past.
In the post-1999 period Macao witnessed the opening of seven new museums, six on the peninsula and another on Taipa Island.
The museums which opened in this period (Tea Culture House, Macao Handover Gifts Museum, Museum of Taipa and Coloane History, and more recently the Macao Science Center, among others) are a diverse group that offers a path to knowledge and learning in various categories.
Macao indeed boasts an excellent number of museums with topics for all tastes.
The territory is justifiably proud of the notable work carried out by the multidisciplinary teams of architects, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, archivists, artists and social and cultural figures who conceived the museums, an effort only made possible by Macao’s propitious economic conditions in recent years.
It is undeniable that the existence of an enviable group of museums in this small territory is closely tied to Macao’s economic development over the last 30 years.
Macao’s museums are today an important part of the region’s tourism strategy, especially because they are an alternative to the gaming segment. They also work as a complement to the city’s UNESCO world heritage sites.
- Experience the Museum of Macao 2009-12-18