Mission of Macao Museum
Advance cultural and museum undertakings to preserve cultural heritage and carry forward Macao's unique cultural diversity fusing Chinese and Western cultures.
The Macao Museum showcases Macao’s history and cultural diversity. With their rich and profound historical and cultural connotations, the exhibits in the museum demonstrate the historical changes of Macao over the past centuries, telling of the peaceful coexistence of residents from different countries and cultural backgrounds in Macao.
The exhibition area on the first floor of the museum introduces the development of Chinese and Western cultures before the Portuguese arrived in Macao in the 16th century, the early history of Macao, the trade, religious and cultural contact between the Chinese and Portuguese in Macao, and the Macao culture gradually formed in the hundreds of years after that. The exhibition area on the second floor displays Macao’s traditional culture and folk arts from varying aspects, recreating the daily lives of Macao people in the past, especially their leisure and entertainment activities, religious ceremonies, and folk celebrations. The exhibition area on the third floor shows the landscape of the city and the characteristics of urban life in Macao today, alongside literary works and artworks with Macao as their theme.
The Macao Museum is located on Mount Fortress, a renowned historical site in Macao. Built by the Jesuits in the early 17th century, Mount Fortress was Macao’s principal military defence structure for more than three centuries. It was designated as a military restricted area for a long time, and it did not open as a tourist area until the barracks were converted into a weather observatory in 1965. Situated in the heart of the Macao Peninsula, the Fortress offers a panoramic view of the entire urban area of Macao. The west side of the Fortress is adjacent to another famous historic monument in Macao: the Ruins of St. Paul’s (the ruins of St. Paul’s College and the Church of Mater Dei). On 15 July 2005, the Historic Centre of Macao was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. Mount Fortress and the Ruins of St. Paul’s are important historic monuments that constitute the Historic Centre of Macao.
The Macao Museum, which opened on 18 April 1998, is three storeys high. Two floors are built under the platform of Mount Fortress, while only the top floor is converted from the ground building of the original weather observatory, thus retaining the original architectural style and geomorphological features of Mount Fortress to the maximum.
Different permanent exhibitions are on display inside this three-level Museum:
1st floor (History)
1st floor – A presentation of Macao's early history and the development of its culture, influenced by the commercial activities between the Chinese and the Portuguese, and by religious and cultural contact between the two civilizations.
2nd floor (Folks customs)
2nd floor – Various aspects of the traditions and folk arts of Macao, as well as its religious ceremonies and traditional festivals.
3rd floor (Contemporary Macao)
3rd floor – Contemporary Macao, featuring current city life and highlighting the portrayal of the region by various literary and artistic personalities.