There are dozens of museums in Ouro Preto to keep you occupied during your Ouro Preto holiday, both in the city of Ouro Preto and the surrounding Ouro Preto districts. Here are some of our recommended favourites.
Casa dos Contos Museum: One of the finest examples of 18th-century Baroque colonial architecture in Brazil, the Casa dos Contos is one of the most interesting museums in Ouro Preto. The house has a colourful past: it used to be frequented by the elite of the city; it housed the troops of the Viceroy; it was a prison during the conspiracy of 1789; and it hosted the Secretariat of Finance in Minas Gerais. It was restored in 1983 and opened as a museum. The space displays documentary exhibits about the Mint of Brazil and the Central Bank of Brazil, as well as other cultural presentations.
Mineralogy Museum: The collection of minerals from the School of Mines began with the creation of this institution, founded by Claude Henri Gorceix. Today this Brazil museum is housed within the Science and Technology School, part of the University of Ouro Preto. On exhibit are more than 20,000 geological samples from different parts of the world. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum staff develops various educational activities in Ouro Preto in order to promote interest in the geological sciences.
Aleijadinho Museum: The Aleijadinho museum is located in the Church of Our Lady of Conception, and is named in honour of artist Antonio Francisco Lisboa, known as ‘Little Cripple’. This popular museum in Ouro Preto was created in 1968 and brings together works of religious art and graphic documents of the time. Related exhibits are also held in two other Ouro Preto churches, St. Francis of Assisi and Our Lady of Mercy.
Museum of Sacred Art of Ouro Preto: Created in 1989, this Ouro Preto museum was later renovated and reopened in 2000 in the basement of the Pillar Church. It is also recognized by the Institute for National Artistic and Historic Heritage (IPHAN) in Brazil. The museum is specifically focused on the conservation, documentation and dissemination of religious art in Brazil and its history. The staff also organizes exhibitions, community outreach and cultural activities, often linked to the city’s religious and cultural calendar. Holy Week is a good time to check out the exhibits and activities.
Guignard House Museum: Opened in 1987, the museum is located in the former house of Alberto da Veiga Guignard, a leading Brazilian artist and designer of the 20th century. The artist was born in New Freiburg, and later came to live in Ouro Preto; the city served as the backdrop for several of his works.
Conspiracy Museum: Located in the old town house and jail, the Conspiracy museum exhibits historical artefacts from the municipality of Inconfidentes, brought back to the country in the ‘30s, during the government of Vargas. The collection is comprised of more than 4000 pieces and represents virtually all the spheres of social and cultural life surrounding Minas Gerais gold mining during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Oratory Museum: Opened in 1998, the Oratory museum houses a collection representing the various models of oratorios from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The collection was donated by collector and Brazilian government official Angela Gutierrez. It also provides details of architecture, painting and regional customs of the time.
Reductions Museum: Located about 30 km from the historic centre of Ouro Preto in the district of Amarantina, the Reductions Museum is a collection carefully created by the Vilhena brothers. There are more than 25 replicas of monuments from 15 states of Brazil exposed in the hanging gardens. The works are made with the same material and in the same style as the originals. Differences in the construction details and the nuances that enrich the facades provide a special finishing touch.
For more information about the museums in Ouro Preto, their opening hours and rates, please see the official Ouro Preto museums website.