• Hon. Mr. Direct from the Maritime Museum Comodoro Favinha
• Hon. Mr. President of APOM Dr. João Neto
• Messrs. Armed Forces Officers
• Dear Members of the Social Bodies of the Portuguese Association of Museology
• Dear Colleagues and friends of museums
I am naturally recognized with the distinction now conferred on me which greatly honors me. However, I would like to highlight what the award seeks to distinguish, more than I have done and have been doing. The award seeks to show the relevance of our cultural space in the world and the bridges and encounters of our culture in Portuguese and the vitality of its communities.
If I managed to contribute to that, as this award distinguishes, I am very satisfied. But we all know that this goal is never completely completed and there will be a lot to do with the contribution of all of us, the museological community.
It is a pity that, contrary to what was announced, we did not have the presence of the S. President of the Republic at this ceremony. We all understand that maybe that was what he wanted, but the imperatives of his presidential mission compel other devotions, which are more priority at this time. But I know that Nosso Professor Marcelo is a fan of our museums.
I know this not only from observing his actions, but from having shared some of his schools as a child. I know that by the hand of her (our) teacher from the primary school, Berta Ávila de Melo, she visited the Museu das Janelas Verdes, where the first educational services were emerging. By the hand of João Couto and Madalena Cabral, with the support of the recently created APOM, the educational function in museums was discussed. I well remember the fascination of entering that museum space and exploring its “treasures”.
I also know that our President, when he was a student at the Liceu Pedro Nunes, admired the Physics Museum, animated with affection by Rómulo de Carvalho. Generations of students dreamed of “The Philosopher’s Stone” by our poet António Gedeão, which showed how the balloons that children dropped rose until they turned into stars.
All this to draw your attention, once again to the importance of museums as spaces for meeting and living. After this pandemic, more than ever, we need to turn our museums into living spaces.
As Rabelais said, humanity has to rethink its relationship with happiness. We cannot remain stuck in the past and anxious about the future. We have to live in the present time and take advantage of our resources to bring laughter and joy into museums.
How can we do this?
With our educational tools. With our ability to bring museums to life and make them meeting spaces
That’s what we can do in our diversity culture space.
This is the message I leave you and I thank you, once again, for your attention.
Pedro Pereira Leite (Education and Diversity Museum) October 29, 2021