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Casa da Memória de Guimarães: heritage interpretation and history


Terms of reuse
CC BY 2.0

Type of best practice
Cooperation between Museums and Heritage sites

history, heritage, visitor experience


The Casa da Memória of Guimarães is a center of interpretation and knowledge that exposes, through the exhibition Territory and Community, various perspectives of the memory of a place.

Organisation in charge of best practice
CIM do Ave

Guimarães, Portugal

2012 ongoing


The Casa da Memória of Guimarães is a center of interpretation and knowledge that exposes, through the exhibition Territory and Community, various perspectives of the memory of a place. Located in the old plastic factory Pátria, in Av. Conde Margaride, is a place where citizens of Guimarães share and reflect on their roots, traditions and memories. Casa da Memória brings together a set of stories, documents, facts and objects enabling us to get to know different aspects of the community from Prehistory to the Dawn of Portugal’s Nationhood, from Rural Societies and Festivities to the Industrialization of the Ave River Valley and Contemporary Times.

Casa da Memória is located in a former industrial facility which housed the Fábrica de Plásticos Pátria (plastics factory), a Guimarães-based industry with tradition in the manufacture of combs, hairpins, headbands and other plastic objects, such as small toys and household items. Architects Miguel P. Guedes de Carvalho and José Carlos Melo Dias were entrusted with the old Fábrica Pátria building’s remodeling project design, which was aimed at transforming the venue to Casa da Memória. The industrial ruins were adapted to a new use, considering that the building’s architecture contains the site’s historical memory, which must be preserved.

Through the several maps of the land area of Guimarães, shown in the exhibition Territory and Community, the visitors can see how Guimarães has been built up over the centuries.

Expert opinion of Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform

This is a positive example of valorization of a cultural heritage asset that after its transformation offers original interpretation of heritage and thus enhances visitors’ experience. The practice can serve as an inspiration for other cities motivated to conserve and valorize their cultural heritage assets and present their heritage to visitors in an original way.


Resources needed
The cost of Casa da Memória ( including buying the old factory , the adaptation and the exhibition) was of 1.747.077,13 €, co-funded 75% by the E.U. and 25% by Guimarães Municipality. The annual operation cost is of 200.000 € supported by Guimarães Municipality.

Challenges encountered

Evidence of success
The Casa da Memória de Guimarães contributes to a better knowledge of the cultural heritage, territory and history of Guimarães, working with and for the community, specialists and local and from all backgrounds agents, with a view to the development of an active and participative citizenship. It is also a meeting place of the community with the outside and of the community with itself. CdM won the 2nd prize in the Cultural Tourism Awards in 2017 for cultural values and heritage interpretation.

Potential for transfer
The Guimarares CdM experience has excellent potential for both learning and transfer by other similar cities that wish to show their heritage to visitors in an original interpretation way. This includes preservation in various archives, libraries and museums, there are several depictions – and motivations – that convey the perception and memory of a land area over time. From the documents that establish laws and set standards, such as a Charter or a UNESCO’s recognition of the Historic Quarter, to the conveying of a certain point of view through films or photographs, or even to personal notes kept in a diary or in an artistic drawing, by way of stories forbidden by censorship, many are the stories and the memories kept by Guimarães, and which are kept with regard to Guimarães. The CdM has already inspired CHRISTA project partners in their action plans and policy instrument improvements in terms of heritage interpretation and sustainable cultural tourism development and promotion.

Further Information

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004545.

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