Fish canning, prisons and river stories

Portimão fish canning museum

Visitors to the award-winning museum in Portimão, Algarve, usually have a choice of exhibitions to see. Currently, there are two temporary exhibitions alongside the three permanent ones.

Industrial canning

Within the old premises of a canning factory, the history of the industrial processing of fish at the end of the 20th century is impressively illustrated – from the landing of the fish in the harbour to the finished can.

In the factory hall, faithfully reproduced as the original, with conveyor belts, wire baskets, machines and ovens, life-size plaster figures stand at their workstations, carrying out their daily duties to the sound of recordings of factory noises.

There is much more to this permanent exhibition, and the other two, read about them here.

In the museum’s new buildings, rooms are used for temporary exhibitions. Currently there are two.

The Portuguese Prison Photo Project

The Portuguese Prison Photo Project offers a glimpse of contemporary Portuguese prisons. From the largest (in Lisbon), the oldest (in Ponta Delgada, Azores) to the most recent, which opened its doors in 2004.

The photographs were taken during 2016/17 and at the start of 2020 by Portuguese photographer, Luis Barbosa and Swiss photographer, Peter Schulthess. Both approached the project from different angles and so offer completely different perspectives.

During the 50th anniversary year of Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, which marked the end of the dictatorial political regime known as the Estado Novo (or Salazarism), visitors will also be able to see images of the detention centres for political prisoners and also concentration camps used between 1926 and 1974, in Portugal and also in its colonies.

Other photographs on show, taken between 1876 and 1974 and chosen from many hundreds belonging to the collections of various public archives, are an intentional counterpoint to the contemporary images by Peter Schulthess and Luis Barbosa. If the latter reflect two views and two circumstances, the old photos are the result of other views, in very different political, penal and prison contexts.

Open until September 1, entrance is free of charge.

Stories brought by the river

The Arade River, with its estuary in Portimão, has offered insight into the lives of people living close to the river and the villages along side it through artifacts found during dredging.

Items, found in the silt that was deposited on local beaches, have been collected, collated and are now on show with the history of the area to explain how the area evolved.

From as long ago as prehistoric times, stories are told of the types of people working and living in the area, how the defences of the area were built up, what faiths and beliefs the locals had and more.

At the end visitors can check in on how well they remember the artifacts they have seen.

This exhibition is open until November 3 and entry is free of charge.

Portimão Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, check opening hours here. Entrance to the permanent exhibition costs €3 a ticket (€1.5 for over 65s and 16 to 25 years).

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