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The Museu do Mar de Cascais (Cascais Museum of the Sea), renamed Museu do Mar - Rei D. Carlos (Museum of the Sea - King Carlos I) in 1997, is located in the building of the former Sporting Club de Cascais (Cascais football team), founded in 1879 by the then Prince Carlos.
In 1976, the building became property of Câmara Municipal de Cascais (Municipal Council of Cascais), the installation phase of the museum being started in 1978.
On the 7th of June 1992, the Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos (Museum of the Sea - King Carlos I) was formally inaugurated.
In 1997, coinciding with the new name, the museum entered a third phase of existence. The inauguration of a new exhibition nucleus themed on maritime ethnography provided a way to get close to the fishing community of Cascais, as well as the promotion of deeper institutional relationships with academic, scientific institutional and museological counterparts.
In 2006, the Museu do Mar (Museum of the Sea) began a process of updating and renewal of the exhibition circuit with the opening of the room Cascais on the Route of Ship Wrecks dedicated to Underwater Archaeology. The intervention continued in 2008 with the renovation of the Octagonal Room (reception area and an invitation to visit the other themed rooms of the museum) and the People of the Seas room, dedicated to the history and experiences of the fishing community of Cascais.
In the summer of 2009, the renovation of another three themed rooms on different floors was carried out, from projects and exhibition scripts developed by technicians of the Division of Municipal Museums: the Navigation and Seamanship room highlights aspects of a historical and technical nature, also highlighting topics of great interest and memory to Cascais, such as Sailing and Naval Parties, which so graced this line of coast and especially the Bay.
Keeping the character to whom the old room was consecrated (King Carlos), the second exhibition is now dedicated solely to the issues of the museum that are of most importance regarding the sea: King Carlos and Oceanographic Science. The project was a collaboration of several institutions, including the Aquário Vasco das Gama (Vasco Gama Aquarium), Museu de Marinha (Navy Museum), The Natural History Museum of London, Musée Oceanographique Monaco, among others, through the long term placing of pieces belonging to the former oceanographic collection of the King, or through the transfer of archive images that allow us to reconstruct the key moments of the action of the King and his crew aboard Amelia yachts.
And because the adventure of life on Earth began at sea, a space was designed to present the museum's collection of marine fossils, embodying an exhibition entitled The Sea and the Origin of Life. This exhibition included not only a collaboration with foreign institutions (museums and universities), but also of researchers from the Museu de História Natural da Universidade de Lisboa (Natural History Museum of the University of Lisbon), Portuguese biologists and palaeontologists experts in the various subjects covered.
The Museu do Mar - Rei D. Carlos (Museum of the Sea - King Carlos I) regularly holds short term temporary exhibits (3/4 months); conferences, colloquiums and seminars with a scientific character. In 1995 the Prémio do Mar Rei D. Carlos (King Carlos I Sea Award) was instituted and alternately contemplates research work related to Marine History and scientific studies in the scope of the Life and Environment of the Oceans.
- Guided tours by appointment;
- Visits and activities for school groups;
- Audio-visual room with a capacity for 40 people
- Library of monographs, journals and specialised books, free access to a Video Library composed of documentaries and films related to the theme of the sea
- Access for handicapped guests.