The Vicentes Photographic Museum was the first photographic studio to open in Portugal. The photographs on display allow us to witness an island and its society through the lens of a camera which includes subject matters such as the great industrial and social changes, cultural revolutions, hunger revolts, wars, and political and economic upheavals of the years that spanned more than 100 years across two centuries.
The founder of the photographic studios, Vicente Gomes da Silva, initiated his photographic activity in the middle of the 19th century when he started to dabble with daguerreotype photographic experiments in 1848. Four years later in 1852 he began practise as a professional photographer. His works are now seen adorned in many an office or hotel room all over Madeira. The studios remain where they had first been started: in the quaint and picturesque open patio salon at the start of the Rua da Carreira in central Funchal.
The Madeiran Government has announced that 1.2 million euros will be spent renovating the Museum during 2016 and 2017. Approximately 400 days work. So, we all hope for a reopening in mid 2017.
This is great news as the Museum is the oldest photographic museum of the Iberian Peninsula and has a stock of more than six hundred thousand negatives including the arrival of the first water plane in Madeira, the holiday snaps of Churchill and George Bernard Shaw and the photos of the last few years of the life of the last Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.