Took my bike for a riverside ride the other day and ended up visiting the empty Museu de Arte Popular.
Empty because it has been closed to the public for years and its collection was placed in another museum for safekeeping. The emptiness of the display cases and shelves were balanced out by the remains of colourful murals in each main hall and curious visitors like myself who have always wanted to understand what caused so much commotion.
The story of this museum is somewhat entangled between the political breeding and manipulation of popular culture during the dictatorship and the post revolutionary "politically correct" behaviour. Everyone knows this for a fact, so why not just simply accept it, learn for it and recreate a new museum of popular culture.
Traditional crafts are a part of who we are as a culture. They require patience and dedication and are most likely to be handed down through the knowledge of the older generations: my mom taught me embroidery and crochet; my grandma tried to teach me how to knit; I learnt from Senhor António Galhofa how to make a basket from chestnut branches; hopefully one day I'll learn to weave. And if this museum wasn't empty I could appreciate these crafts so much more.
This opening was just a one day exception. I hope to return to it soon as a paying visitor.