Museum of Macau
For a traveler with only a short duration of stay in Macau and would like to visit at most one or two museums, the Museum of Macau should be the one on the top of the list.
There's no better way to experience and to learn about Macau its culture, its history, and its people, than to pay a visit to the Museum of Macau, and be amazed by the richness of Macau's culture.
The Museum of Macau, opened in 1998, is located at the Monte Fort, facing the St. Paul's Ruin. You can reach the entrance by turning left from St. Paul's. Furthermore, the Museum is built inside the ancient Fortress, which dates back to the beginning of the 17th century when the Jesuits built it.
Back then, the St. Paul's Ruins weren't considered ruins. It had a school, St. Paul's College, just next to the fortress. The school is also called the College of the Mother of God and it as considered as the first Western-type University in the Far Eastern side of the world.
There was also a church built in this area. The St. Paul's Ruins is what's left of the church. The college was connected to the church, which had the same name. This facade, the remains of the church, became a famous tourist spot and identity for Macau.
Planning for the construction and building of the Museum of Macau started in April 1995, more than 11 years ago. However, the construction of the Macau Museum started only in September the next year, 1996. And finally, it was inaugurated on the 18th of April in 1998, exactly 3 years after planning.
The total area of the museum is 2,800 square meters from which are approximately 2,100 square meters of exhibition space.
It's not easy to get lost in the Museum of Macau, unlike other museums. The visitor can have a great time navigating inside the museum and looking at the interactive and one-of-a-kind exhibitions.
Now, unto the details of the Museum of Macau. When you are looking for the Museum of Macau and do not know where to look, you might easily get lost because the museum isn't easily recognizable. But then, if you're at the Ruins of St. Paul, then you might as well enter the Museum of Macau because it's just beside St. Paul's Ruins.
The entrance to the museum is two escalators up the Monte Fort. A suggested tour of both the Museum of Macau and the Monte Fort would be to go to the museum first, which is inside the Fort, then go down the Fort through the many sets of stone staircases located at its exterior walls.
Macau Museum 1st Floor: Beginnings
This is the first floor of the Museum of Macau. In here, you will find the birth of the "Gateway to East and West." From the moment you enter, you can already see the difference between Eastern and Western cultures.
Arranged chronologically, the first floor of the Macau Museum depicts the beginnings of Macau and the arrival of Portuguese traders and Jesuit missionaries.
Particularly interesting is the room comparing Chinese and European civilizations at the time of their encounter in the 16th century, up to the time when Jorge Alvares arrived to the Pearl River Delta (1513).
The time after this, the time of encounters and of commercial and cultural relationships among different countries is exhibited here as well. Because of this the Macau culture was developed in a very unique and peculiar fashion. Also, the importance of Macau as a commercial port is also emphasized here.
Macau Museum exhibits include descriptions of their different writing systems, philosophies, and religions.
Macau Museum 2nd floor: Genesis
Here the Macau Museum deals with the daily life and traditions of old Macau. Scenes of the city day-to-day life are revealed, including its hobbies, rites, rituals, wedding ceremonies, festivals.
Displays include paintings and photographs depicting Macau through the centuries, traditional games and toys. There is an explanation of Macanese cuisine and architecture, and a re-created street in Macau lined with colonial and Chinese facades.
The featured shops include those selling tea, pastry, and traditional Chinese pharmacy and medicine. Age old industries ranging from fishing to fireworks factories are also displayed.
Macau Museum 3rd floor: Modernity
The top floor, the only one above ground, is of modern Macau and its plans for the future.
A space is provided for Macau and Patua (the local Portuguese dialect) literature including the famous names of Camoes and Pessanha.
This cultural circuit ends with a presentation of the perspectives and challenges of Macau in the role as a SAR of the People's Republic of China.
From here you can either exit to the wall ramparts of the Monte Fortress or go down the escalator and out of the museum.
Go out to the Mount Fortress open space and take in the beautiful views of Macau and the Mainland China.
Enter again and go down the escalators to the souvenir shop if you want to buy some; and if you want some refreshments there is a bar near the entrance.
All in all, the Museum of Macau is the best way to learn about the interesting history and the colorful culture of Macau and its residents.
The Macau Museum properly and efficiently showcases the best of Macau.
However, the best way to experience Macau is still to go out and live the Macanese life.
If you don't have the time to do so, however, the Museum of Macau is the best place to go for such an experience.
To get there:
Place: Monte Fortress, Praceta do Museu de Macau, No. 112
Opening hours: From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (tickets are only available up to 5.30 p.m.). Closed on Mondays.
Tickets: children (under 11), elderly people (over 60) and students - 8 patacas; adults - 15 patacas, free admission on 15th of every month.
Tel: (853) 357911 / Fax: (853) 358503
Bus routes: 2,3,3A,4,5,6,7,8A,10,10A,
Go down in Leal Senado Sqaure.