Overcoming Distance, Portuguese Communications Museum

“Overcoming the Distance – Five Centuries of Communications in Portugal”, the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Communications, is a show about the evolution and improvement of techniques that allowed Humanity to communicate more and more quickly and efficiently.

Organized chronologically in two routes, one on the history of the Post Office and the other on the history of Telecommunications, the exhibition aims to document and reveal the history of the sector, using unique collections in Portugal, whose origins date back to the first communications museum in 1877, then called Museo Postal.

The Correios route tells the History of Correios in Portugal from its institutionalization as a public service (16th century) to the present.

Along this route you will find the Philatelic Gallery, which, through thematic and temporary exhibitions, makes the seal known through emblematic philatelic issues and, also, original drawings signed by some of the plastic artists that have been marking the history of our stamps.

In the course of Telecommunications, the pieces tell the history of telecommunications, in the areas of networks and infrastructures, information systems, internet, mobility, and media.

ANACOM also has its own space in this exhibition, which makes visitors aware of the importance and role played by the regulator since 1989.

“Vencer a Distance” is also enriched with centers dedicated to Air Navigation, Radio to Television and submarine cables.

Art and Philately Collections
This section of the museum includes collections featuring philatelic artefacts dating from the 16th century to the present day and document the history of philately in Portugal. It also contains a parallel collection of art displaying some of the most important figures in the Portuguese visual arts. List of collections below.

Includes stamps from Portugal, the former Portuguese colonies and foreign stamps from member countries of the Universal Postal Union (UPU). The collection also features experiments and tests, engraving plates and production stages of Portuguese stamps.

Stamped Paper
Collection consisting of non-illustrated, illustrated, commemorative and greeting stamped paper, postcards, aerogrammes, and postcards.

Original Designs
Original designs by some of the best known Portuguese visual artists for issued and non-issued stamps, stamped cards, first day covers with cachets, wallets and postmarks.

Collection composed by internal, first-day and commemorative postmarks.

Unused Cards
First day covers, covers/commemorative cards, and covers from the former Portuguese colonies and other countries.

Maximum Cards
Portuguese postcards from Macau and other countries.

Medals and Coins
Medals from Portugal, the former Portuguese colonies and other countries. This collection also contains Portuguese and foreign coins.

Certified Diplomas and Awards
Collection consisting of certified diplomas relating to the CTT’s attendance at national and international philately contests and awards for issues of Portuguese stamps.

Items published by the CTT
CTT greeting cards, annual stamp year books (Stamps of Portugal), themed books of stamps, CTT diaries, and advertising material produced over the years.

Art Heritage
Paintings, serigraphs, engravings, lithographs, sculptures, tapestries and stained glass by Portuguese and foreign artists acquired by the CTT and Portuguese Communications Foundation.


Artistic Heritage – Painting
The painting highlights 20th-century artworks by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata and Maria Keil. Belongs to CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection.

Related Post

Distribuição Domiciliária (1963)
by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata
There are few stories as exciting as that of the post. Humankind’s ancient and constant need to exchange messages led to first kings and the states employing all of the resources within their reach to overcome distance.

Correio a Pé e a Cavalo (1962)
by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata
Pilgrims, squires, horse couriers, stagecoaches and traveling post offices were used successively over the centuries to deliver missives to their destinations.

A Mala-Posta (1973)
by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata
This work represents four stages in the journey along the Lisbon-Porto Mail Coach route inaugurated in 1855. The route is shown on the map of Portugal, which highlights the coastline and identifies the changing stations.

Auto-Ambulâncias Postais (1967)
by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata
At the same time, the postage stamp was invented and access to correspondence democratized through home delivery.

Correio Aéreo (1966)
by José Pedro Roque Martins Barata
In the 20th century, through innovation, modernization, the creation of new services and the introduction of new technologies to the postal sector, the circulation of correspondence and goods became as fast and efficient as it is today.

Serviço Postal (Postal Service) (1942)
by Maria Keil do Amaral
In the 1940s Maria Keil produced a number of panels on the theme of the carriage of mail to decorate the public area of the Funchal Central Post Office.

Postal Heritage
This group of 19th and 20th-century pieces is part of the CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection. Amongst them is a board with the mail collection times, a postal weighing scale by Lourenço de Araújo, a “Directorate of Mail” plaque, a ” Directorate of Mail” box, a “1st District” letter box and a No. 824 pillar box.

Postal signpost schedule (Beginning of the 19th century)
Lourenço de Araújo Scale (1814 – 19th century)
“Directory of Post” Signpost (1852 – 19th century)
“Mail Directory” Postal-Chest (1852 – 19th century)
“1st District” Post Box (1821 – 19th century)
Pillar Box No. 824 (1936 – 20th century)
“Receive mail in the country” Rural Post Box (1879 – 19th century)

Artistic Heritage – Tapestry
The production of tapestries in Portalegre began in 1946 and was the product of the initiative of two friends, Guy Fino and Manuel Celestino Peixeiro, who wanted to revive the tradition of hand-stitched carpet making in the city. The CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection includes a tapestry produced by the Manufactura de Tapeçarias de Portalegre which closely interpreted the original cartoon by Luís Filipe de Abreu in 1982.

Postal Patrimony – Transportation
The regular carrying of post by mail coaches began in England in 1784. A regular mail service began in Portugal in 1798 when the Lisbon-Coimbra road was opened. Two models are shown from the CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection: an English mail coach and a French mail coach, both from the 19th century.

Heritage Documentary – Photo
In the 1920s and 30s, Francisco Santos Cordeiro took outstanding photographs of communication facilities, equipment and services. Belongs to CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection.

Heritage Documentary – Poster
Advertising poster designed to encourage the use of the mail, telegraph and telephone services, as well as explore a commercial advertising service for the general public. Belongs to CTT Correios de Portugal/Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações collection.

Take a look on exhibition Overcoming Distance: Five Centuries of Communications in Portugal, the history of the post is, after all, a history of successes and an excellent way to discover the history of the evolution of the world.

Portuguese Communications Foundation
The Communications Museum, opened in 1997 at Rua do Instituto Industrial, 16, in Lisbon, is a pedagogical space of scientific and technological nature, where, in a playful and interactive way, you can have access to information about the past of communications and also about the technologies of the future. The Communications Museum belongs to the Portuguese Communications Foundation – FPC, and is responsible for the museological collection of its founders ( ANACOM, CTT and Portugal Telecom ) and for its dissemination.

Located in the riverside area of Lisbon, The Portuguese Communications Foundations (FPC) was created in 1997 by the founding members ANACOM, CTT and MEO.

The FPC is the guardian of Portugal’s communication heritage and its chief purpose is to conserve and divulge it. It also aims to assert itself as a nationally and internationally recognised cultural and scientific institution that plays an active role in promoting citizenship, literacy, learning and social inclusion.
The existing heritage includes a valuable collection of pieces ranging from the 16th century to the present day.

This heritage is grouped into the Postal, Telecommunications and Art and Philately collections. It can also be consulted in the Historical Archive, Iconography Archive and the Library, and online in the Digital Catalogues.

The Museum of Communications is an active and visible part of the achievement of the Foundation’s purpose. It holds exhibitions on the science and techniques linked to the sector, allowing visitors to learn about its history and to experience the future of technologies, highlighting the permanent exhibitions Overcoming Distance – Five Centuries of Communications in Portugal, Mail Coach and the House of the Future in the Cloud – Living in a Smart City, as well as exhibitions of contemporary art.

The Foundation is therefore a place in which the past, present and future of communications are intertwined. It is a platform for innovation and experimentation in new technologies and their impact on the way people organise and live their daily lives.