The Pius XII Museum is a museum space in the Archdiocese of Braga, located within the building of the Conciliar Seminary of São Pedro and São Paulo, an old convent, with its main entrance facing the street named Campo de Santiago.
It was founded in 1957, as an initiative of Canon Luciano Afonso dos Santos, a pastor who dedicated a significant part of his life to collecting religious art and, especially, archaeological items throughout the vast territory of the Archdiocese of Braga. His interest in archaeology led him to discover the ruins of a Roman “domus” in the centre of the Seminary’s cloister.
From 1984, the museum was enriched with a collection of canvasses and drawings by Henrique Medina, a legacy that the artist wanted to keep alive in the Archdiocese of Braga.
Renovated in 2002, the museum became equipped with the best conditions for presenting its collections. Jewellery, paintings, coin collections, ceramics, as well as sculpture and archaeology, make up the vast collection that this cultural institution has on display.
In all, the Pius XII Museum has three main sections: the permanent collection: “One Museum. One History” (where the best of the mentioned collections can be seen, telling the history of humanity); the Henrique Medina Gallery; and the Medieval Tower. Along with the three permanent sections, the Pius XII Museum has two rooms for temporary exhibitions and cultural activities and one room for educational services.
The Pius XII Museum guided visit, which must be booked, is adapted to the public and can last between 30 minutes and an hour and a half, according to the visitor’s choice.
The Pius XII Museum is also in charge of (entrusted with) the Gallery of Archbishops, situated within the gardens of the Bishop’s Palace, where a collection of portraits of the Bishops and Archbishops of Braga is displayed.