Municipality of Elvas
Closed to the public in 2004, the MAEE is the largest museum to cover this subject in the Alentejo. In
2021, after adaption work, it reopened in the former Military Maintenance
building in Elvas. The museum combines the collections of the António Tomás Pires
Archaeology Museum with the collection of the Grémio da Lavoura de Elvas,
giving rise to the permanent exhibition: “The Territory, from Past to Present,
People and Objects”.
The museographic and the digital
environment project is based on three interconnected pillars. First History. The history of the territory,
people and objects present throughout the exhibition, inspired by the language
of the graphics, which are rich in the colours and shapes of the Alentejo. Secondly People. People as the main element
of the narrative, communicating with the visitor through objects, illustrations
and animations. And lastly Time. The
museum maintains a relationship with
the future too, with an independent digital layer and preparation for
In the Library room, an Augmented Book shows printed information about the two collections
and institutions that give life to MAEE. As the visitor leafs through the book,
digitally animated content appears on the pages, which supplements the existing
20 pages and enriches the information provided.
The Oven room is dedicated to the trinity of
Mediterranean cuisine, Bread, Wine and Olive Oil, represented on 3 separate tables,
symbolic of family life, gatherings and mealtimes. Interactive video mapping
allows visitors to touch certain points and access animated content, which
helps to interpret objects and understand the diet of the original farmworkers.
To honour the intangible cultural heritage of Elvas,
we created a magical space that we called “Contanário” (a source of stories).
Its snail shape refers to childhood memories around the fire, when grandparents
told stories and passed on knowledge, ideal for seeing and/or listening to the
most diverse stories of the people of Elvas.
At the entrance of the main room, visitors
are invited to explore the vast network of people and institutions that
contributed to Archaeology in Elvas, as well as to most of the objects
displayed in the different rooms, through interactive
video mapping projected on a wall that reacts to the visitor's touch.
Surrounding this wall, we find a long room divided
into five timelines, which articulate ethnography in communion with archaeology,
through graphics, illustrations and display units that invite discovery. In
this room, we will also find two mandatory stopping points. The first has a
vertical screen, which works as a window for the Villa Romana at Quinta das
Longas, completely reconstructed in 3D,
and which can be explored using the commands present on an interactive digital totem
Further down, a display
unit full of semolina (a variety of wheat widely farmed in Elvas in the
last century) invites all visitors to become archaeologists for a brief moment.
When excavating the Praça da República with their own hands, they will
discover, digitally, different objects found there and learn about their
function. But gently, so that the objects don't break and so visitors can
complete the challenge like true archaeologists.
The visit is coming to a close and the feast of Saint
Mateus can already be heard in the distance. But first, we are immersed in a
darker and more intimate environment, which reveals different burial rituals
that took place over the centuries, through exhibits and animated digital
content, designed and controlled from an interactive totem display.
The MAEE was developed so that, first, the people of the territory of
Elvas can feel proud of their past and their traditions and, secondly, so that
those who visit Elvas can see that there is a lot to discover in this
territory. For our part, we hope that the time spent in this museum will be
rewarding and invite you to a second or third visit.