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Vitrum. Glass in the history of Lisbon

20 Apr 2022 — 19 Jun 202210h – 18h

3 € (grants access to the whole venue)

Tickets available at

Opening at Museum of Lisbon - Roman Theatre: 19 APR | 6pm

Free admission


In this International Year of Glass, the Museum of Lisbon presents the exhibition Vitrum: Glass in the History of Lisbon, featuring more than a hundred glass objects held in the museum's own collection or which come from the myriad archaeological excavations carried out in the city. 

Usually kept in reserve due to their fragility, glass collections represent a considerable part of Lisbon's history. Although often in a very fragmented state, they are a bridge between the present and all those who, in the near or distant past, used glass in their everyday lives.

Despite its apparently fragility, the delicate and transparent material of glass has been preserved in the archaeological record since ancient times. While glass forms a part of everyday life today, it is also synonymous with past opulence and, indeed, is a material of the future and sustainable technology. Because of its recyclable nature, glass is very commonly reused, which underlies its rarity in archaeological contexts when compared with other more common materials such as ceramics.

The United Nations has chosen 2022 as the International Year of Glass. A true "breath of life" because it is moulded from human breath, glass is common to several civilisations and has accompanied the history of mankind. It can be used as a qualifier in the passage of different peoples and is associated with countless memories and narratives.

Glass is produced by heating sand and making it incandescent and therefore mouldable. Through human breath, the mass acquires the desired shape. In the end, the chooses to stop blowing and we are left with an object frozen in space and in time that was once no more than a mere handful of sand.

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© Museu de Lisboa