Exhibitions

Exhibitions

Former director of the Museum, Affonso Taunay, in a photograph dating from the 1930s.

Understanding the Museum

This exhibition addresses two main themes: the construction of the Monument Building and the transformations of the museum's collection throughout its history.
When the Museum was created, it had collections of botany, zoology, ethnology, and mineralogy artifacts. Throughout the years, these collections have been transferred to other institutions. A part of the art collection was also given to the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo Museum. The objective of these transformations was to make Museu do Ipiranga a specialized history museum. Besides all these changes, you can also see the scale model that shows how the building was originally designed. And through an immersive experience you will also discover what material culture is and how researchers study societies through objects and images.


Former director of the Museum, Afonso d'Escragnolle Taunay, in an office. He is sitting behind a large desk.

Sculpture of Fernão Dias Paes Leme, the Governor of Esmeraldas. Luigi Brizzolara, 1922.

A History of Brazil

To visit this exhibition, it is necessary to go through three different areas of the Museum: the Lobby, the Staircase, and the Great Hall. These areas were decorated with sculptures and paintings that depict a version of Brazil's formation. The works represent explorers called "bandeirantes" and characters from the early Portuguese colonization, as well as characters and events linked to Independence. There are also vases with water from Brazilian rivers and the painting "Independência ou morte!" (Independence or Death!), by Pedro Americo, on display.
This area of the museum is protected by heritage preservation agencies, which means that it must maintain its original characteristics. For this reason, the room remains with the same presentation as the time when the last paintings were installed, in the 1960s. But this does not prevent it from being discussed and interpreted from new perspectives, which are presented in this exhibition.


Huge stone sculpture by Fernão Dias Paes Leme, a man with a hat, a long-sleeved blouse and a cape.

Maquette of the city of São Paulo in 1841. Henrique Bakkenist, 1922.

Imagined Pasts

In this exhibition, it is possible to see paintings that represent scenes and characters from Brazil's past. They are very familiar images, and you have probably seen some of them in schoolbooks or other everyday objects. These representations were made from elitist visions, which depreciated the presence of indigenous and black people in Brazil's past.
Here you will also find a maquette and paintings that represent the city of São Paulo about 150 years ago.


Past Model of the city of São Paulo in 1841, with dozens of small houses and, in the center, a square with a church.

Terra Brasilis. Lopo Homem, Pedro Reinel and Jorge Reinel, 1519.

Territories in Dispute

This exhibition focuses on the formation of the Brazilian territory and the conflicts between the Portuguese, the natives, the Spanish, the French, and the Dutch during the colonization process.
Here you can find maps, instruments used for navigation, and stone objects that were used in this process of occupation and territorial division.
These objects and images clearly show the invasion of territories, the destruction of villages, the deaths and enslavement of indigenous populations.
The exhibition is enhanced by several videos, showing different points of view on colonization.


Old map of Brazil, with drawings of trees, animals such as birds of different colors and monkeys. There is also the ocean.

Sugarcane Milling Canvas, Cachoeira Farm, Campinas, 1830. Benedito Calixto, 1920.

Worlds of Work

It presents the performance of workers in different activities and periods of Brazilian history.
Here, you will find images of work registration, instruments used in public construction, such as roads and railroads. Tools and other objects related to work in the fields are also on display.
The exhibition shows that all work involves planning, technique, and creation, employing both physical and intellectual effort.


A large sugar cane mill, with black men at work. Oxen attached to the machine make it turn.

Porcelain sculpture, from German origin, 1774-1813.

Houses and Things

This exhibition is about how the domestic space is a place of formation of our way of being. It presents working and decorative objects from different São Paulo households over the last 150 years, such as crockery, kitchen utensils, and office objects. From them, we are suggested to reflect about their uses, ornaments, and materials.
By looking at how objects relate to each other and to the people who use them, we can understand how they have helped in the construction of individual and social identities based on gender differences.


Small porcelain sculpture representing a man and a woman. The man is on top of a tree picking fruit.

Brazilian coin of 320 réis, dated 1825.

Listing: Coins and Medals

It presents the second stage of the curatorial cycle: Listing. You will discover how objects are described and documented from the traditional collection of coins and medals, that has very established ways of identifying and describing their materials and their symbologies.


Coin in rounded shape in silver color. In the center it reads "320". There are drawings that refer to flowers, in the corners of the coin.

Image of Parque da Independência. Photographer Ivo Justino, 1970.

The City Seen from Above

In this exhibition you will find aerial photographs of the Ipiranga district, which show the region around the Museum at different moments in its history.
These images were captured from different sources, such as the top of the Monument Building, airplanes and drones.


Aerial photo of the region where the Ipiranga Museum is located, with the Monument-Building and the French-style garden.

Plastic toy soldiers from the 20th century.

Conserving: Toys

It shows how the work of conserving a collection is done. There are hundreds of play house objects alongside cars, spaceships, and rockets. Here it is possible to show the conservation work from the initial evaluation when the item enters the collection, the hygienization and restoration activities, the ways of packaging, and the storage in the technical reserves.


Box containing 12 toy soldiers. There are specimens pointing weapons or in different attack positions.

Porcelain dinner set of French origin, 1880-1900.

Communicating: Dishes

The last stage of the curatorial cycle is communication. Using our collections of tableware, it will be possible to show how an exhibition is produced, a process quite different from the practice of simply displaying the objects. The exhibition is related to selection, creation and interpretation, that is, a process of knowledge that is far from being neutral or certifying a truth.


Set of crockery, with a large oval-shaped plate on which there are 6 small pots with lids.

Photograph of Estação da Luz. Photographer Guilherme Gaensly, 1904.

Collecting: Images and Objects

There are four exhibitions dedicated to presenting the work of professionals from different areas working at the Museum. These actions are called the curatorial cycle. This exhibition explores the first stage of the cycle: collecting. We use samples from our collections to explain the changes in document collection policies, which have led to both a expansion of the range of social segments represented and a variety of materials and techniques.