The notorious Portuguese political prison based at Fortaleza de Peniche is set to open as a museum on 27 April. It will be called Museu Nacional da Resistencia e da Liberdade, or the National Museum of Resistance and Freedom, and it will open on the 45th anniversary of the prison closing in 1974 following the Carnation revolution.
The museum will portray and explain what happened to those who did not agree with the policies and laws created by Portugal’s dictator, António de Oliveira. He served as prime minister from 1932 to 1968, and was responsible for the Estado Novo, the corporatist authoritarian government that ruled Portugal until 1974. The prison operated from 1934 to 1974 and a large number of political prisoners were held there for being opponents of the Salazar regime, most of whom were members of the Portuguese Communist Party.
The museum will open at the 16th-century fortress, Fortaleza de Peniche. It will have themed areas, following suggestions from former prisoners, with exhibits, commentary and documentation on display. An inaugural exhibition will take place when it opens, and a memory wall will be unveiled, inscribed with the names of the 2500 prisoners who were jailed under the Estado Novo. With its purpose being to teach people about the country’s past, it aims to explain to younger generations what the country was like under fascism.
With a budget of €3.4m ($3.8m) to complete the work, a total of 22 architectural practices competed to design the museum, with Atelier AR4, Arquitectura Lda winning the contract.
For further information on the Museu Nacional da Resistencia e da Liberdade, please see here.
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