Museu da Misericórdia do Porto (MMIPO), Portugal

The Museu da Misericórdia do Porto is situated in the centre of Porto in a location that has always been of artistic and cultural importance for locals. In fact, the name of the museum derives from one of the oldest social and humanitarian organizations of the city, the Misericórdia do Porto. This non-profit organization was founded back in 1499 and is today upheld by the museum in order to demonstrate its cultural significance for the people of Porto over the centuries.

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Four floors of exhibitions comprise the Museu da Misericórdia do Porto. You’ll find collections of paintings, sculptures, jewellery, gold and silverware.

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Displays are modern and well-lit. They bring Portuguese works to life in an innovative manner. You’ll also find information in English too.

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At the Museu da Misericórdia do Porto you can experience historical artworks from local artists but you too can learn about the history of arts and culture in the city through interactive displays such as this one below.

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Furthermore, it is important to note that the building has various modern art features (see below) which simply jut out of walls adjacent to the 16th century artworks – a very unique manner of placing. This work below reminds me of a tentacle of an octopus or a root from a tree and metaphorically alludes to the living, breathing nature of art and the building – the connectedness of the modern to the old.

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This contrast is also evident in the building’s architecture. In fact, the main museum building where exhibitions can be viewed interconnects with a 16th century church. The juxtaposition of modern versus old is clear here. The strong red vertical lines of the industrial-style glass core of the building contrast with the softness of the blue and white tiles of the inter-leading church.

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What’s great is that you can view the church from the pews downstairs and from the upstairs towards the back of the church – giving you two very unique and impressive viewpoints.

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These gold-plated lanterns inside the church made me feel like a bit of an Indiana Jones on a hunt for ancient hidden treasures.

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Lastly, I might add that from various rooms inside the museum magnificent views of Porto await you.

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And here’s a view of the Rua das Flores which leads from the city centre down to the river Duoro.

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The Museu da Misericórdia do Porto is a museum which demonstrates the profound impact of a single organization on a city and the resulting art of the times. For me, the most profound thing about the museum is the contrast of old and new, which ultimately makes for a very unique and interesting museum experience.

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Elizabeth Joss

Elizabeth Joss is the founder and main writer at The Museum Times. She works as a university lecturer by day and is an avid travel blogger and arts and culture enthusiast by night. Elizabeth started The Museum Times out of the need to give smaller, lesser-known museums more exposure.

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