Founded in 1965 and located in the pretty neighbourhood of Belém, it comprises a comprehensive collection of artefacts from all over the world.
Its 40.000 archaeological and ethnographic objects showcase the culture and lifestyle of rural Portugal, of the peoples and cultures of the former Portuguese colonies, such as Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Timor and Macao.
It possesses objects from distant places including Ghana, Mali, Nigeria Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Indonesia.
This museum can’t be disconnected from the history of Portuguese anthropology – large part of its collections is a result of the work carried out by the country’s pioneers in this field. The most relevant are the ones dedicated to African art, Portuguese agricultural tools and traditional textiles.
Since 2013, it presents a new permanent exhibition called ‘The museum, many things’ built around seven different sets of objects, that may change in time: The Balinese shadow theatre; Dolls from Southwest Angola; Pot lids with sayings from Cabinda; Portuguese folk music instruments; The tally from Rio de Onor (set dedicated to an object); Masks and puppets from Mali; and The sculptures of Franklim (set dedicated to an author).
It offers guided tours and has a multimedia library, which houses a varied collection of documents in the areas related to the museum activity.