Guide “For Your Free Thinking”

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For Your Free Thinking
Reference: IPPBLIV19943301
Edition: Directorate General of Cultural Heritage
ISBN: 978-972-776-545-4
Pvp: € 5.00
Date: April 25, 2019

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The exhibition “Por Teu Livre Pensamento” (“For Your Free Thinking”) is the inaugural act of the creation of the National Museum of Resistance and Freedom in the Peniche Fortress. This is a deeply symbolic act, which marks the opening to the public of a unique museological project, which has challenged the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage on multiple and enthusiastic fronts and has been embraced by a huge multidisciplinary team of qualified professionals from our staff.

The 15th National Museum will perpetuate the memory of resistance to the dictatorship and will be a place of homage to the arduous and painful struggle in the name of Freedom and Human Rights in our country during 48 long years of repression.

It will also be a source of knowledge and reflection on humanist values that despite being fundamental have withered and declined at times throughout history.

In portraying the suffering caused by lack of freedom, even the freedom to think, we go beyond the field of memory and point clearly to the future. This Museum will always remind us that the most valuable achievement of April 1974 – Freedom – will continue to be what we do not want to lose – ever again.

In 2017 the current government unanimously approved a recovery plan for the Peniche Fortress to install a National Museum in it. Moreover, the Assembly of the Republic approved, in parliament, on both left and right, its refurbishment and the preservation of its historical memory, as an ex-political prison of the dictatorship.

It is with great pride that we are now positioning Portugal on the international itinerary of monuments and museums that celebrate Human Rights. In the troubled times in which we live, the call for attention to this achievement has almost become an ethical imperative, and it is surely a matter of citizenship.

Later, the Committee for Museum Content Production and Presentation (CICOM) was established to oversee the production of the Museum’s exhibition design. The committee’s members include some ex-prisoners of Peniche and other well-known personalities. Their tireless work and commendable dedication are at origin of the design of the “Por Teu Livre Pensamento” exibition.

While on the one hand we work with a comfortable historical detachment, as 45 years have passed since the events that we propose to narrate in our museological discourse, on the other hand we have the enormous privilege
of enriching our task with the contributions of many of those who lived through the period and spent time in this prison.

Reconciling these two factors is a rare and happy circumstance, so I would say that this Museum could not have been created any later or any sooner. It is going to be created, strictly, at the right time.

We know that Cultural Heritage, as memory, is never restricted to the past. It always belongs to the present, because it is part of and participates in the present. Thus, it is therefore inscribed in the future. This
is the great mystique of Heritage: it belongs fully to the past, the present and the future.

The Fortress of Peniche is a living example of this dynamic. It is a remarkable heritage site, which began as a military fort, was then a political prison and is now reborn with a new use as a space for culture and memory.
Let us therefore consider this exhibition as the bright dawn of a “new, whole and clean day”.

Paula Araújo da Silva
Director – General of Cultural Heritage