FCB - ACTIVITIES IN 2017
The Foundation’s institutional activity continued to be characterised by ongoing partnerships with the Ministry of Culture and with various entities under its oversight. It is also worth noting the Addendum to the protocol signed with the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage, which redefined the period of alternating residence of the Landau of King Carlos I in the Carriages Collection of Vila Viçosa and at the National Coach Museum to three years, thus reducing the risks of damage to this historical icon of the regicide, as well as the costs due to their transfer from one place to another.
It is also worth emphasising the relationship with universities, which will be referred to in more detail below, among which stand out:
- The signing of a Protocol with the Centre for Sociology and Musical Aesthetics Studies of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, with the purpose of preparing a revised and updated catalogue of the Musical Archive;
- The partnership with the Department of Archaeology/CHAIA (Art History and Artistic Research Centre) and the Hercules Laboratory at the University of Évora, with the aim of conducting an Archaeology Workshop;
- The collaboration of the students of the Architecture course at the Instituto Superior Técnico in the urban redevelopment of Vila Viçosa, with special focus on the Ducal Palace and Square;
- the renewal of the protocol signed with the Professor Baeta Neves Centre for Applied Ecology and the Centre for Forest Studies at the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, with the aim of continuing the ongoing research related to the influence of deer on the cork oak forest at the Royal Hunting Ground of Vila Viçosa.
It is also worth noting the collaboration with some local authorities, including:
- Vila Viçosa, namely through institutional support for the organisation of the “Dr. João Gonçalo do Amaral Cabral Heritage Olympiad” and in the provision of the information requested in connection with the candidacy for UNESCO World Heritage status;
- Ourém, providing continuity to the Condes de Ourém Castle and Palace conservation and restoration project, and registering with great appreciation, the award of the gold medal of the Municipality of Ourém to the member of the House of Bragança Committee, Professor João de Azevedo, for the relevant services rendered, on behalf of the Foundation, within the scope of that project;
- Alter do Chão, in which Castle, the exhibition dedicated to Queen Amélie “Tirée par... Queen Amelia and Photography” can be visited, although in reduced version
Within the scope of the policy of collaboration and lending of works to other institutions, the most important are those related to the National Museum of Ancient Art, the Military Museum and the Museum of the Presidency of the Republic, as well as the Évora Municipal Council.
The participation of the Foundation at a meeting organised by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in preparation for the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage is also noted, attended by the Secretary-General of Europa Nostra and representatives of the main Portuguese foundations and museums.
In 2017, the Foundation’s cultural activity was conducted in accordance with the defined programming guidelines, seeking to reconcile a well-balanced management of resources with the requirements of conservation and enhancement of the heritage and the collection, as well as the functions of interpretation and exhibition, study and research, incorporation, inventory and documentation, communication and education.
A brief note to emphasise the positive impact of changing the admission conditions, namely the 50% decrease in admission for students. This formula also benefits university students, promoting access to heritage and attracting a segment of the public that usually has difficulty in assuming such costs. We believe that the increase and consolidation of this option will contribute to the creation and loyalty of new audiences.
It should be noted that in 2017, all the indicators of frequency and use of the library and archives increased, in particular those relating to the influx of users. These numbers reflect the greater visibility and interest on the part of the academic community and, simultaneously, the variety of projects in which the Museum and Library are involved.
The maintenance of the interest of different audiences is recorded within the Castle. The archaeological community has come to know the collection and to recognise its national importance, resulting from the effort in raising awareness conducted in recent years, with exhibitions and academic publications. This recognition was consolidated with the holding of the 1st Archaeology Workshop.
In general, the exhibition, activities and events around collections, bibliographical and archival collections, have sought to attract new audiences, namely academics.
The museum activity focused on the spaces open to the public, namely through the two temporary exhibitions presented, and on the commitment to the conservation and study of the collections and spaces.
In the production of content - exhibitions, studies, presentations - the following stand out:
- Following on from marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Queen, celebrated in 2016, the exhibition dedicated to Queen Amélie, “Tirée par… Queen Amélie and Photography, was presented at the Centro Português de Fotografia in Porto, between 21 January and 21 May. This same exhibition can now be visited, although in a reduced version, at Alter do Chão Castle. The Municipality of Vila Pouca de Aguiar has also expressed interest in presenting part of this exhibition, and the preparatory work is ongoing. This first public presentation of the MBCB Photographic Archive, after the beginning of the inventory, housing and study works, has been met with remarkable success;
- On 30 June, a small exhibition dedicated to the Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies of Vila Viçosa was inaugurated in the Barracks of the Vila Viçosa Castle. The deposit in the Foundation of much of the contents of this chapel at the time of its destruction caused by the works of 1940 made it possible to present the gilded-wood altarpiece and part of the 17th-century tile panels restored for the occasion;
- Also, on 30 June, in the Vila Viçosa Ducal Palace, a room dedicated to Luísa de Gusmão was opened to the public, where three paintings acquired by the Foundation are exhibited: a small double portrait of Luísa de Gusmão and the Portraits of Jorge Alvares and Gratia de Gois;
- On 3 November, the exhibition “The Education of the Princes in the Collections of the Museum and Library of the House of Bragança”, was inaugurated at the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa by the President of the Republic, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. This exhibition is the result of internal research, particularly by the Library team, with the intention of continuing the project started with the exhibition “Throne and Family in the Museum and Library Collections of the House of Bragança”.
The contacts developed with academics have led to the organisation of joint activities with university institutions, from among which some initiatives with greater expression stand out:
- On 6 April, an Archaeology Workshop was held at the Vila Viçosa Castle: “Archaeology 3.0 - From Excavation to 3D. Management, Innovation and Dissemination in Archaeology”, in partnership with the University of Évora (Department of Archaeology/CHAIA and the Hercules Laboratory), where the second day of works was held on 7 April and which had a communications panel, including works from international experts, culminating in recognised academic and professional success;
- On 8 July, undergraduate students of Doctor Pedro Flor, from the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, presented some works produced regarding pieces from the Museum and Library collection, under the discipline of Art History, under the title “1st Encounter of Art History”;
- On 20 and 21 November, two of the University of Évora’s study centres, the Interdisciplinary Centre for History, Cultures and Societies (CIDEHUS) and CHAIA, in partnership with the MBCB, promoted a study trip to Vila Viçosa for the students in the 2nd year of the History and Heritage/Archaeology course, having visited the monumental spaces and held a practical workshop about archival collections;
- Still within this approach of academic collaboration, students from the Architecture course at the Instituto Superior Técnico created works inspired by the reality of the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa, which have already been exhibited in spaces around the Instituto Superior Técnico and are planned to be displayed within the Museum and Library.
In a rerun of the work started in 2016, extended to all of the classes of the 10th year of the Secondary Schools Community of Vila Viçosa, practical workshops were conducted to train library users. These visits and workshops are part of a commitment to attract student visitors to spread awareness of the spaces, items and collections of the Foundation, but also to foster interest in studies and works on themes related to the House of Bragança, in particular, and memory institutions in general.
In 2017, the Foundation essentially maintained its programme of publications, which were, in turn, the subject of presentations and communications in different spaces. Such as:
- On 25 February, at the Ducal Palace in Vila Viçosa, the publication and presentation of Volume 4 of the collection 'Livros de Muitas Cousas' [Books of Many Things], “A Sua Magestade a Rainha D. Amélia de Portugal. Um raro acervo musical”, [Her Majesty Queen Amélie of Portugal: a rare musical collection] by Rui de Castilho de Luna. This work, complemented by a CD, was also presented at the Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra on 13 March, at the Queen Amélie Library at the Necessidades Palace on 11 April, at the Soares dos Reis National Museum in Porto on 20 April, at the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum in Cascais on 22 April and at the National Music Museum in Lisbon on 28 April;
- On 5 May, Volume 3 of the collection 'Livros de Muitas Cousas', “O Convento dos Agostinhos de Vila Viçosa, panteão dos duques de Bragança”, [The Augustinian Convent of Vila Viçosa, Pantheon of the Dukes of Bragança] by Miguel Soromenho was presented to the Augustinian Convent by the Rector Fr. Ricardo Cardoso;
- On 18 May, marking International Museum Day, the archivist Marta Páscua presented the conference “The Death of the Duchess Leonor” in the Garden of the Duchess;
- On 22 June, at the National Palace of Mafra, the Director of the Museum and Library presented the lecture “Ducal Palace, Royal Palace, Library and Museum: The House of Bragança Throughout the Centuries”, within the framework of the conference “Power and Space/Spaces of Power”, on the occasion of the commemorations of the third centenary of the placing of the First Stone of the Basilica at the National Palace of Mafra;
- On 30 June, at the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa, Volume 5 of the collection 'Livros de Muitas Cousas', “Museu-Biblioteca da Casa de Bragança: de Paço a Museu” [Museum and Library of the House of Bragança: from Palace to Museum], by Maria de Jesus Monge was presented;
- on 3 November, was the presentation at the Ducal Palace of the work “Manuscritos de Florbela Espanca” [Manuscripts of Florbela Espanca], by Professor Maria Lúcia Dal Farra, from the University of Sergipe (Brazil), and by Professor Ana Luísa Vilela, from the University of Évora, attended by His Excellency the President of the Republic, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who honoured us with his participation;
- On 2 December, in Arcos de Valdevez, the archivist Marta Páscua participated in the 5th congress on the “Noble House”, which took place between 30 November and 2 December, with a lecture on the “Personal Archive of the Royal Family”, within the theme of the Family Archives.
The season of concerts and recitals boasted the usual eight concerts, held in the Chapel of the Ducal Palace, with an erudite repertoire and using the musical instruments of the era. This was the eighteenth annual season, and the affluence registered, as well as the interest and recognition obtained, allowed us to consider our continuous investment in the quality of the repertoire and on the excellence of the interpreters as a worthwhile decision.
Worthy of note was the concert held on 15 July in the Agostinhos Church featuring the Gulbenkian Orchestra, the “Petite Messe Solennelle”, by Rossini, directed by Conductor Michel Corboz, with pianist Adriano Jordão, the Gulbenkian Choir and the soloists Ana Quintans, Carolina Figueiredo, Marco Alves dos Santos, Manuel Rebelo and João Barradas.
Also with regard to activities developed in partnership with other entities, in addition to those already mentioned, the following are identified:
- Protocol signed with the Centre for Sociology and Musical Aesthetics Studies at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa for the preparation of a revised and updated catalogue of the Musical Archive. The purpose of this work is to review cataloguing, introduction in a database, digitisation and publication, with the support of researchers and specialists in the field of our important documentary collections. The agreed timetable foresees completion of the project in 2021;
- Visits to the various spaces and collections of the Foundation, including some sessions held in the Library, by students of the Vila Viçosa Schools Community:
- On 17 May, on the occasion of “International Museum Day” and because the pre-school students did not participate in “Castle Week”, a day was held in the Castle with a puppet theatre play “A História da Carochinha” [The Story of the Little Beetle], in which pre-school children of Vila Viçosa, S. Romão, Pardais and Bencatel participated;
- The initiative “A Day at Vila Viçosa Castle”, from 11 to 13 October, covering about 600 students from various educational levels (with the exception of pre-school children), with the intention of bringing the students to a monumental space, which forms part of their daily landscape but in which many of them have never been, in order to contribute to the development of heritage awareness and, within the teaching objectives foreseen in the respective curricula, to provide access to recreational and learning experiences outside of the classroom context. The theatre experience continues to be one of the highlights of this programme, provided in 2017 by the Meninos da Graça theatre group , who presented “Legends of Portuguese History”;
- As in 2016, secondary education students attended a lecture given by Lieutenant-Colonel Nuno Lemos Pires, from the Military Academy, this time about “Portugal: from the campaigns of the Restoration to the challenges of the future”. This activity was again very well received by the students, who felt challenged to understand the connection between historical development and the world in which they live. In addition to the visits to the museum spaces, an exhibition on the “Restoration War” was also presented in the room usually dedicated to temporary exhibitions. The students were also challenged to take part in a Photography Contest, the results of which will be released during the current school year.
With regard to the image production service for study, documentation and publication purposes, several photographic productions, scans or copies were made from microfilm, proving the growing importance of this service.
The effort of reorganisation, repackaging of collections and updating of inventories continued within the Library, substantially facilitated with the admission of an archivist. The numerous applications for study and publication are also noted, of which we highlight the partnership with the Parques de Sintra, as well as for the various publications promoted by the Museum and Library.
The maintenance, conservation and appraisal of the movable and constructed heritage is assumed as a task of primary importance within the scope of the Foundation, which limit and guide the activities and projects, always seeking to ensure best practices.
Within the scope of the Library, the approval of new Reading Room Rules of Conduct, published on the “website” of the Foundation is registered, as is the installation of the fire detection system in the Historical Archive, accompanied by its operating regulations.
In the chapter on acquisitions, we highlight the acquisition of the works “Encontro na Porta Dourada” [Meeting at the Golden Gate], a painting on wood by Garcia Fernandes, Dressing Table Set in silver, and a rifle. The Ergonometric File of King Manuel II, the Obituary of Prince Luís Filipe, a handwritten letter from King Carlos to Queen Amélie, printed materials in Portugal and in Brazil for the celebration of the 3rd centenary of the death of Luis Vaz de Camões and a sculpture of a Portuguese Pointer Dog were bequested to the Foundation. Two vehicles (a cart and a chaise) were also deposited by Ambassador António Cotrim, which are available to the public in the Carriage Collection.
As far as the Library is concerned, there are a number of entries this year, from which “Orasion Funebre de Monseigneur Jean-Pierre Biord, Évèque et Prince de Génève” and “História do Futuro”, [History of the Future] by Father António Vieira stand out, and in the reserved manuscripts, the interesting correspondence of Queen Amélie to the sculptor Delfym Maia and an important sixteenth-century document, the “Codex of King João IV”, among other works that have enriched the collection.
Charitable and Social Solidarity Activity
In keeping with its statutory purposes and consistent with the policy followed in previous years, the House of Bragança Foundation continued to channel significant financial aid to the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Vila Viçosa, as well as to the Firefighting Associations and other Institutions of Culture and Solidarity based in the geographical areas in which the Foundation is active, as a way to contribute to the viability of their meritorious action with the respective communities.
As in previous years, the geographical scope of beneficiaries of these subsidies has widened, including national institutions such as Caritas, the Red Cross, the Food Bank Against Hunger and the Portuguese League Against Cancer.
The total amount of subsidies granted amounted to 153.9 thousand euros, of which about 73% was for charitable purposes and 27% for cultural purposes.
In geographic terms, the largest share was allocated to institutions based in Vila Viçosa (57.4%), with a special sum allocated to the Santa Casa da Misericórdia (33%), followed by the Rest of Alentejo (24.1%), the Headquarters (12.8%) and Ourém (5.7%).
Educational Activity in the Agricultural and Forestry Sector
In compliance with the will expressed by the Founder, the King Carlos I Agricultural School has continued with its educational activity, under the terms of the protocol signed with the King Carlos I Technical-Professional Association.
As of 31 December 2017, the number of trainees amounted to 52, distributed into two Wine Technician classes (1st and 2nd years) and one Agriculture and Livestock Production Technician class (3rd year).
In 2017, 16 trainees graduated from the Agriculture and Livestock Production Technician Course, under the Apprenticeship Act of the Portuguese Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, and 13 trainees obtained the licence for Application of Plant Protection Products.
Within the scope of the objective to “Rehabilitate and Revitalise Indoor and Outdoor Resources and Physical Spaces”, as included in the 2017 Activities Plan, the House of Bragança Foundation carried out some repairs to the oldest building of the school.
Agricultural and Forestry Activity
In the agro-forestry area belonging to the House of Bragança Foundation, the year 2017 was characterised by insufficient rainfall, which led to a situation of “severe drought”.
Whilst on the one hand, it was possible to harvest all of the cork, collect the income, sell pastures and grant hunting licences, on the other hand, there was a great fall in the production of pinecones and the loss of thousands of cork oaks and holm oaks (young and mature) was witnessed due to drought and disease. The deer of the Royal Hunting Ground had to be fed with purchased concentrates and hay.
The results of the harvesting of cork were as follows:
Pruning training was carried out on young cork oak trees, in the Vendas Novas Delegation (”Arneiro” and “Faias”), covering an area of 1,100 hectares, and in the Vila Viçosa Delegationon planted montado areas: in Casa Velha, Casa do Meio and Monte Santo (50 ha), Herdade dos Pegos (40 ha) and Herdade da Casa de Bragança (85 ha).
In order to keep the plantations at maximum production, the following areas were harrowed: Vendas Novas Delegation (850 ha in Faias, Canafrecheira, Malhada das Vacas and Vale de Arneiro); Vila Viçosa Delegation (6 ha in Canal, Vale da Lagem, Vale D’Aboim, the Royal Hunting Ground, Bajolo, Pegos and Gato).
Thinning the pine plantations was carried out in Pinhal do Centro, in the Sub-Delegation of Ourém.
Pinecone production was most affected by the “severe drought”, with no improvement forecast in the coming years. A felling of wild pine trees was conducted, over an area of 650 ha, in the area of ”Faias”. Pine trees affected by the pinewood nematode were identified and marked for felling in order to combat this pest, which causes so much damage.
With regard to hunting, the rights to hold red deer, fallow deer and wild boar hunting parties at the Royal Hunting Ground were sold to a Spanish company, the following animals having been hunted among the 18 licences sold: 36 red deer, 70 fallow deer, and 108 wild boars, with a high number of medals (C.I.C score) being highlighted in any of the three species.
As for the fires, the occurrence of a large fire in pine forests of Vendas Novas is to be regretted, with 173 ha burnt, despite the firebreaks that are created every year to combat this national calamity. Its cause is thought to have been arson, since the presumed perpetrator of the various fires that affected the region was arrested.