Renovated museum in Ovar reveals the importance of Oliveira Lopes

Dedicated to Oliveira Lopes, the museum in Aveiro has received 400 inhabitants in one month.

The Oliveira Lopes School Museum marks today a month of activity after its reopening and has already received almost 400 visitors in this Ovar space dedicated to the contribution of the Oliveira Lopes brothers to local and national education.

After being subjected by the municipality, the renovated museum space of the municipality of Aveiro district continues to function in the parish of Válega, occupying the former primary school built with donations from Manoel and José Oliveira Lopes.

These two patrons came from a local family of farmers and in the second half of the nineteenth century emigrated to Brazil, where they made their fortune as grain traders.

Raquel Elvas is the director of the renovated equipment and argues that this growing demand is due to the fact that the space is completely different, occupies the entire building, now has visitable reserves, a documentation center with publications collected in Oliveira Lopes and galleries of exhibitions.

For the local councilor of Culture, Alexandre Rosas, this new dynamic is due to the work developed in the museum in 2018 and 2019, when, after the physical intervention in the property.

At the base of the project remains the memory of Manoel and José Oliveira Lopes, who, upon returning from Brazil to Válega in 1894, became prominent members of the Republican Party of Ovar and invested a significant part of their financial resources in their homeland.

They financed road construction, funded restoration and conservation work in churches, and in 1908 began the construction of the Oliveira Lopes School, which opened to the public two years later.

The space musealization project, in turn, began to prepare in the late 1990s, thanks to Salvador Malheiro.

Initially, the Oliveira Lopes School Museum functioned in parallel with the normal teaching activity of the building.

But in 2014 the students who had classes there were transferred to the new Regedoura School Center and the original building found more space available.

By mid-2016 it would be closed to host total restructuring works, whereby the spaces freed by the relocation of the classes were allocated to the storage of reserves, technical offices, an auditorium, a cafeteria, two exhibition galleries and an Ovar Library pole.

The collection now open to the public includes antique pieces such as maps and planispheres, Forest-branded globes, relief cartography, samples for the study of the natural sciences, paintings on the history of Portugal, among others.

Noting that the Oliveira Lopes School Museum is part of the Researchers Network in History and Museology of Childhood and Education, Salvador Malheiro concludes that the renovated equipment is now “more appealing and better able” to receive the public. “It’s been a success,” says the mayor.

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