At the Gateway to History

This is the museum’s main exhibition and it occupies the industrial halls of the former factory , covering an area of approximately 1,000 m2; “Portimão, Territory and Identity” is a historical synthesis of the journey traced by local communities from prehistoric times up to the present day, focusing on the most characteristic activities of economic, cultural and social life, divided into three different tours.


At the Gateway to History

This is the museum’s main exhibition and it occupies the industrial halls of the former factory , covering an area of approximately 1,000 m2; “Portimão, Territory and Identity” is a historical synthesis of the journey traced by local communities from prehistoric times up to the present day, focusing on the most characteristic activities of economic, cultural and social life, divided into three different tours.


At the Gateway to History

This is the museum’s main exhibition and it occupies the industrial halls of the former factory , covering an area of approximately 1,000 m2; “Portimão, Territory and Identity” is a historical synthesis of the journey traced by local communities from prehistoric times up to the present day, focusing on the most characteristic activities of economic, cultural and social life, divided into three different tours.


Origin and destiny of a community

The geographical location of the Municipality of Portimão, the wealth of natural resources in the surrounding area, the strategic role of the Ria de Alvor and the river Arade all led to the gradual settlement and development of the first groups of humans, from prehistoric times to the periods of Roman and Islamic occupation up to the present-day communities.

This tour presents the most important historical elements to be found in the cultural organisation of local societies, showing the forerunners of a gradual evolution of the rural world until the transition to industrialisation. The unique story of Manuel Teixeira Gomes from Portimão at the turn of the 20th century can also be seen on this tour.

The Tour is divided into 8 sections:


Industrial life and the challenge of the sea

The memories of the canning industry and the close historical relationship with the River Arade and the Atlantic are the central themes of this tour. The tour highlights the role of men and women in Portimão’s and the Algarve’s most important economic activity, before the change to a new paradigm, the tourism industry.

Starting in the factory itself and in particular the restored “beheading room”, visitors are led from the former fish market on the Portimão quayside to the heart of the factories, following the process of making, packaging and promoting Portimão’s tinned foodstuffs.

The tour is divided into 5  sections:


  • There’s Fish on the Quayside.

    The starting point for the work in the factories was at Portimão's fish market, the place where the fish arrived, was sold and distributed.

  • Between Whistles and Sirens

    Summoned to work by the factories’ steam whistles and sirens, the focus here is on the workers’ exertions as they made their way from home to work.

  • "The Beheading Room"

    This room is where took place the first stages of preparing the fish for canning.

  • Art of Full, Art of Empty

    The factory was divided into two distinct sections:

    •   - The “Cheio” (full), where the fish was handled and processed and the cans were filled and closed;
    •   - The "Vazio" (empty), where boxes, keys and the printed cans (made of tinplate) were produced and the latter were printed at the lithography studio
  • Promotion – From Portimão to the World

    Advertising and communication strategies used by the canning industry in domestic and international markets.

From under of the waters

In the factory’s old water cistern, where rainwater was collected and reused for supplying the brine tanks and the factory’s boilers, the moving images of the underwater fauna and flora of the Rio Arade and the Portimão coastline can now be discovered.