Translating heritage into museums: two architectural strategies inside Lisbon Castle

Helena Barranha, João Vieira Caldas, Rita Nobre Neto da Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Adaptive reuse
  • Cultural heritage
  • History and theory of conservation
  • Interpretation
  • Lisbon Castle
  • Museums


Dive into the research topics of 'Translating heritage into museums: two architectural strategies inside Lisbon Castle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this