At the beginning of the 17th century, the Convent of Santa Clara do Funchal, had the direct domain of several properties in place of Ribeira Brava, a single-story house in the former Rua da Bagaceira, 16th century denomination of the artery where today is located the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira, foreira to that convent, was acquired by Luís Gonçalves da Silva, captain of the ordinances of Ribeira Brava, married, in 1682, D. Antónia de Meneses.

Captain Gonçalves da Silva then enlarged his villa, having added a floor and, on the south island of the building, had a chapel built in 1710 dedicated to patriarch São José, where he would be buried. We can still observe, although modified, implanted in the building where the Ethnographic Museum is located, the portal of said hermitage.

Luís Gonçalves da Silva and his wife, by testamentary disposition, made in 1716, established a perpetual bond imposed on the house where they resided, in several farms and in the chapel of St. Joseph, which would only be abolished in 1860.

In 1853, José Maria Barreto, the last administrator of the bond of São José, converted the ruined solar into an industrial unit, having for this purpose constituted a partnership with Jorge de Oliveira.

A sugarcane mill, animal traction and a brandy distillation still was then set up there, in 1862, the manufacturing company, with a new partner, Fr. João António de Macedo Correia e Freitas, started to use hydraulic energy, installing, in that year, a wooden drive wheel, served by a levada, and a cane grinding machine with three horizontal iron cylinders. In 1868, two cereal mills also operated in that factory.

Over the years, successive transactions of the company’s shares occurred 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 the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira, designed by architect João Francisco Caíres, designed by architect João Francisco Caíres, in the old ribeira brava brandy mill, designed by architect João Francisco Caíres, inaugurated on June 15, 1996.
The museum’s vocation is to investigate documentation, conservation and dissemination of testimonies of traditional Madeiran culture. The museum’s collection includes collections that cover various social, economic and cultural aspects of the Madeira archipelago, ethnography being its area of vocation.

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

  • Open Tuesday to Friday from 9.30m to 17.00
  • Saturday from 10.00 to 12.30m and from 13.30m to 17.30m
  • Closed on Sundays on Mondays and Public Holidays
  • Normal: 3.00 €
  • 3rd Age: 1,50 €
  • Youth Card: 1,50 €
  • Groups (+ 6 people): 2,50€ (per person)

Ethnographic Museum of Madeira


♿ 🟢 Accessibility: Easy ( Access depends on a lift )

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