One Museum, One History
The main exhibition room in the Pius XII Museum is entitled “One Museum, One History” and it is located on the main floor of the building. Focusing mainly on the archaeological and religious art collected by Canon Luciano Afonso dos Santos, this exhibition presents the remnants of the human occupation of the Minho region, through the Paleolithic Age, the Neolithic Age and the Roman, Suevic and Visigothic periods.
The section dedicated to archaeology offers a very rich display of stones, ceramics, glass, bronze and iron, as well as coins and jewellery. The Arches room is dedicated to the exhibition of prehistory and proto-history, which brings together a set of objects collected by Canon Luciano Afonso dos Santos in the districts of Braga and Viana do Castelo, before the Archaeology Unit of the University of Minho was even created. From the Paleolithic Age to the Neolithic Age, which ended with the Iron Age, this section displays a set of objects collected in settlements inhabited during this period, amongst them utensils and bone fragments.
It leads into a long corridor devoted to romanisation and the Christian era. The main feature of this exhibition’s section is the ceramics that were found in the territory of Braga. A perfectly preserved mosaic with marine motifs stands out, a result of the excavations undertaken in 1968 in the neighbouring cloister of the Conciliar Seminary of São Pedro and São Paulo. It is also worth mentioning the Roman stelae, as well as fragments of Visigothic columns and capitals. Votive altars, milestones and sarcophagi can also be seen in this section. An innumerable amount of coins is also a part of this exhibition. In this collection, there are elements that came after romanisation, such as a Gothic baptismal font, a hollow cross, capitals…
The religious art collection is introduced with a small room dedicated to devotionals, with a collection of crucifixes. Next is the Textiles and Jewellery room. The final part of “One Museum, One History” is dedicated to sculptures and paintings, with around thirty pieces on display, selected from the Museum’s vast collection.