The Museum’s vocation derives from the successive historical structures that received the collections and the living experiences they reveal as well as the mental pictures that the Museum itself has developed. At present this is clearly assumed in the large renovation project intended to reveal and coherently express the essential values of the pre-existent (earlier) architectures and re-qualifying the spaces assigned to the collections, whenever necessary

Whilst holding some of the finest examples of Portuguese monumental sculpture, the Museum’s priority is to offer to all its visitors the opportunity to vibrate anew in the presence of works of art removed forever from the spaces for which they were created.

The rationale that orientates the realization of the mission of one of the most significant museums in Portugal is not only to afford a spatial continuity between the buildings and the collections but also between the buildings and their urban setting. The qualified success of the mission of a museum of this nature implies the accomplishment of a genuine dialogue with the work of art through sensory and emotive experiences where verbal expression and rationalism reason appear on a complementary level.

All the activities expected of the Museum – those that we generally call the cultural and educative ones – depart from an eminently artistic principle that intends to offer little used opportunities for the development of affective and aesthetic qualities aimed mainly at the neighbouring community. The programming of events in the field of the performing arts follows the same target: the interaction with the Museum spaces that goes beyond the notions of a framework of a merely formal convenience, thus contributing to the creation of contrasts and the highlighting of values.

The Museum’s great ambition is to make accessible to everyone what is wrongly considered as being elitist and too frequently understood as being unattainable. Its main goal finally resides in the cultivation of the sensibility of the discerning inner eye as being the critical ability to recognise what it is that we really appreciate.