History and Heritage


  • HistóriaMUHNAC - National Museum of Natural History and Science is the public brand of the specialized unit Museus da Universidade de Lisboa (Museums of the University of Lisbon), created in October 2011. This museum follows the National Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Science of the Lisbon University, integrating its collections, the old buildings of the Escola Politécnica, Lisbon's Botanic Garden and the Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon located at Ajuda (since July 2012).
  • The Botanic Garden opened in 1878
  • In 1911 with the creation of the University of Lisbon, the Museum was declared an extensin of the Faculty of Sciences, becoming The National Museum of Natural History (1926)
  • In March 1978 a violent fire destroyed a great area of the old Escola Politécnica building, all the zoology and part of the geology collections. The Faculty of Sciences started immediately its reallocation process.
  • In May 1985 it was created the Museum of Science of the University of Lisbon, sharing the Escola Politécnica building with the National Museum of Natural History.
  • In 2003, new bylaws detached the Museum from the Faculty of Sciences and placed it under the direct administration of the University of Lisbon rectory-
  • In October 2011, the University of Lisbon General Board created the unit Museums of the University of Lisbon, with the public designation of National Museum of Natural History and Science.


In addition to the collections, library and historical archives, the University of Lisbon's Museum have under its protection a magnificent historic and scientific heritage.


  • Observatório AstronómicoThe MUHNAC - National Museum of Natural History and Science main building, classified in 2013. Projected In neoclassical style by the French architect Pierre-Joseph Pézerat, it was rebuilt in the decade of 1850 to host the Escola Politécnica, on the foundations of an ancient building that hosted the Jesuit Noviciado da Cotovia (7th-century) and Colégio dos Nobres (18th-century).
  • The Chemical Laboratory (1857-1890) and the Astronomical Observatory (1898), two unique 19th-century scientific facilities in Portugal.
  • The Botanic Garden (1878), classified as a national monument in 2010.
  • The Colégio dos Nobres Royal Riding Hall (1761). The sole survivor building of this school, with a magnificent wooden ceiling. It was classified in 1978.
  • The 19th-century Escola Politécnica Reading Room and Library kept the original style and furniture.
  • The Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon, located at Ajuda with its magnificent main building and astronomy collections preserved in situ. It was created in 1861.