Video: Paulo Henrique Silva

Talking About Water in Unusual Times

Chosen by the Azorean Museums and Visitable Collections Network (AMVCN) as the driving force of its collective exhibition for summer 2020, the theme of water was designed, from the beginning, to meet three goals:

– to connect different entities, acting under different supervisions, within a common project;

– to connect, under a common idea, museums scattered from one extreme of the Azorean archipelago to the other;

– to begin and show how a relationship model, based upon open partnership and collaboration, is feasible.

We intended to show the work and viewpoint of each member, the multitude of possible approaches, the range and wealth of the cultural and natural heritage preserved in the Azores, whether in museums, visitable collections or through new institutional approaches.

Its completion at first envisaged a series of temporary exhibitions, real and effective, carried out individually by each participant and according to their own approach and museography, complying with a temporary exhibition calendar, extended throughout the summer, from May/June to September/October.

The connecting elements would be a common theme, a common logo and a common catalog. At the same time, a digital version of the catalog and a virtual version of the exhibition were to be developed.

Thus networking in a collective and organized way, we always aimed at ensuring full autonomy and individuality to all 16 current members, 13 museums and 3 visitable collections.

As such, ranging from seashells to painting, from industrial machinery to everyday objects, from peace to war, from art to science, between salty and sweet water, with multiple and diverse points of view, it was possible to conceive and project an exhibition held at fifteen different rooms, scattered throughout the archipelago. All this would enable a traveller, a resident, a tourist to be accompanied throughout the islands, or in a single one, by this project uniting them all.

But then, in March 2020, with the project underway, there was “the new coronavirus”, Covid-19, and then confinement!

Places like a museum or a visitable collection, where elements of the cultural and natural heritage are kept, preserved, studied and promoted, base much of their action on materiality, even when that material is mainly a support for elements of Intangible Heritage. That really is their essence, the materiality of what they keep and preserve as a starting point for further debate, questioning or creation.

The challenge was set, in the face of this new and strange situation: to find out ways of communicating and being a museum, that is, a place for information, knowledge and inspiration, when doors were or would be closed or just half-opened, with the usual interaction certainly becoming impossible.

The answer, the one possible from both technical and human points of view, and rooted in that usually regarded as a truly Portuguese skill – being able to find alternative solutions amidst a fair amount of confusion – is here, as a result both of the technical quality and ongoing effort of the staff of all partners belonging to the AMVCN, and of the invaluable support of the technical personnel provided by the Regional Directorate for Culture of the Azores, as well.

Transferring not only the physical and real version of the exhibition but also the printed catalog to 2021, energies fully turned to the possibilities opened up by the digital and the virtual, bringing together 15 of the 16 members, the only absence having occurred for entirely justifiable reasons and not without expressing full support for the project.

And thus, on May 18th 2020, in the midst of this crisis driven by a human and social experience completely out of our habits, the AMVCN presents, on behalf of all its members, this collective work.

You are welcome!

The Executive Board

Francisco dos Reis Maduro-Dias

Luís M. Menezes

Telma Joana Silva Porto

Virtual exhibition

Virtual Exhibition: Water

Production: the Azorean Museums and Visitable Collections Network

Direction: the Azorean Museums and Visitable Collections Network

Participant Members: Porto Pim Whale Factory Museum, Carlos Machado Museum, Graciosa Museum, Horta Museum, Flores Museum, Angra do Heroísmo Museum, Santa Maria Museum, Vila Franca do Campo Municipal Museum, Hélio Costa – Terceira Island Carnival Museum, Pico Museum, Maia Tobacco Museum, Francisco de Lacerda Museum, Azores Military Museum, Ribeira Grande Municipal Museum, Machado Fagundes – Volcanic Speleological Museum, Os Montanheiros Association

Curatorship: Executive Board of the Azorean Museums and Visitable Collections Network

Digital Museography: Rui Marques / The Regional Directorate for Culture

Graphic and Communication Design: Ana Rita Lima / The Regional Directorate for Culture

The contents of this exhibition are subject to copyright and related rights, as well as to data protection.

Technical information: This virtual exhibition was created with the Artsteps App from Dataverse, Ltd. It uses 3D VR immersive technologies, optimized for mobile devices and accessories (smartphones, iphones, ipads, tablets and VR headsets), requiring the download of the Artsteps app at Google Play and the App Store.

In PC versions, this virtual exhibition runs in Edge, Chrome and Firefox web browsers, requiring updates in other browsers.

See the virtual exhibition Water – Eastern Group

See the virtual exhibition Water – Central Group

See the virtual exhibition Water – Western Group


Published by: The Regional Department for Education and Culture / The Regional Directorate for Culture

Coordination: The Executive Board of the Azorean Museums and Visitable Collections Network

Graphic design and editorial coordination: Ana Rita Lima/The Regional Directorate for Culture

Proofreading: Cecília Pinheiro/ The Regional Directorate for Culture

Year: 2020

Place: Angra do Heroísmo

See interactive catalog

See in PDF