Obscura Day 2017! Join our global celebration of exploration and discovery.
May 6

Lisbon, Portugal

Electricity Museum

Located in the thermoelectric factory that once powered the entire city, this Portuguese museum is shockingly fascinating.  

Whether it is art or industrial history that SPARKS your fancy, Lisbon’s Electricity Museum is pretty likely to fire you up with its mix of vintage electric machinery and contemporary art. 

The giant industrial center that now houses the eclectic Electricity Museum was once a fully functional coal-burning power plant. The plant was originally built in across multiple decades in the early 20th century, finally reaching completion in the 1950s. During its life, the power complex provided juice for all of Lisbon, as well as being a rather lovely example of industrial architecture in and of itself. Eventually the power plant became obsolete, but its lovely looks remained.    

It wasn’t until 1990 that the space was converted into a museum space. The whole complex then got a make-over in the early 2000s. The old boilers were polished up, the creaky machinery was refurbished, and the variety of exhibitions on display was expanded. Today, the gleaming old machines still remain on display, and are joined by several fascinating interactive exhibits on electricity including a Jacob’s Ladder, and a rotating art exhibit. The contemporary art on display changes regularly, ensuring that while the old power plant continues to age, it never gets old.

History tends to thrive in museums, but here the history of electricity thrives BECAUSE it’s a museum.  

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