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Translating heritage into museums: two architectural strategies inside Lisbon Castle

Helena Barranha (CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal)
João Vieira Caldas (CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal)
Rita Nobre Neto da Silva (House in the Valley, Unipessoal Lda., São Pedro de Moel, Portugal)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Publication date: 6 February 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of contemporary architecture in heritage protection, reinterpretation and reuse, an issue that has become increasingly relevant due to the recognition of architectural heritage as a key factor for cultural and economic development.

Design/methodology/approach

In Portugal, as elsewhere in Europe, cultural heritage management has often been associated with the creation of new museum spaces, namely, within national monuments and archaeological sites. Drawing on restoration theories and international charters, this paper analyses and compares two parallel interventions recently built inside São Jorge Castle, in Lisbon: the Museum Centre (Victor Mestre and Sofia Aleixo, 2007-2008) and the Archaeological Site (João Luís Carrilho da Graça, 2008-2010). This approach offers insight on the complexity of addressing and reconfiguring the profusion of past transformations within a single monument.

Findings

These two complementary museum spaces are representative of different attitudes towards heritage appropriation, substantiating the thesis that musealizing always entails the creation of narratives, which translate history and heritage into architectural and curatorial discourses. Besides meeting the functional requirements of specific museum programmes, such interventions frequently deal with the challenge of opening up new perspectives on the past.

Originality/value

Considering the central role of communication in contemporary museums, this paper discusses how heritage musealization can contribute to the translation of historical evidence into updated iconographies, narratives and dialogues. Furthermore, the unique characteristics of this twofold case study can provide an insightful contribution for a broader debate on the reinterpretation of iconic monuments and sites.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

All the quotes from Portuguese texts were translated to English by the authors of this paper.

Citation

Barranha, H., Caldas, J.V. and Silva, R.N.N.d. (2017), "Translating heritage into museums: two architectural strategies inside Lisbon Castle", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 33-47. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-05-2016-0033

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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