The Portuguese Language Museum

In 2007, I spent a month in São Paulo and although it was technically my second time there (I had spent 2 days there as a teen), it was the first time, as an adult, that I was able to really explore what the city had to offer. One of the coolest parts of the trip was going to the newly minted Museum of the Portuguese Language.

The museum is situated in the historic Luz railway station that helped bring the city to prominence, not only as a means to transport coffee but as the destination where newly-arrived immigrants would truly come face to face (or rather, ear to ear) with the Portuguese language.

While the station was designed and built in the UK, the museum was the brainchild of an American museum designer (the same one who thought up the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C.). All the rest was thanks to a group of Brazilian architects, designers, artistic directors and experts on the language who brought the museum to life during the four-year period of its construction.

Within the 3-story interactive museum, you can find every type of media possible, after all, languages are meant to be accessible to most of the five senses. With the aid of technology, even touch comes into play. All in all, the museum brings together an auditorium, a gallery, spaces for interactive games and linguistic maps, a “planetarium of words”, a media-based timeline of Portuguese (which even includes “internet-ese”) as well as rotating expositions on varied themes.

The worst part of my trip there was not the museum, but rather that I only had a few hours to enjoy myself inside it. With a recent one month stay in São Paulo, you can bet I went back to explore more of my favorite language. Although I’m no fan of getting lost in such a big ol’ city, I was eager to lose myself once more in the Museu da Língua Portuguesa!

Note: Admission is R$6, though free on Saturdays. Also important to know that it’s closed on Mondays. See theofficial site for more details.


2 thoughts on “The Portuguese Language Museum

  1. Wow, thanks Adam for the historic part of the museum. I never knew abou that. I just knew of its content. Unfortunately because I was cold and pushed for time, just as you were, I wasn’t able to watch the video/movie that they had playing. Maybe next time when I go back I’ll take my time. But I really enjoyed it. My friend insisted that we go and I thought I’d be bored mainly because I’m not into literature but he made it seem like that’s all it was going to be about. Since I’ve always loved historical linguistics, I found this to be one of the most enjoyable places I visited while in São Paulo.

  2. Great post. I’m currently learning Portuguese prior to moving to São Paulo in a few months’ time and often wonder how certain words came to be. I wish I could go to this museum right now, but I’ll put this on my list of one of the first things to visit. Really enjoying your blog; please keep it coming.

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