Portugal’s Museum of Electricity is located in the former Tejo (Tagus) power station, begun in 1908, with additions made up to 1951. Parts are in the Art Nouveau style. It is situated on land reclaimed from the river in the late nineteenth century.
The museum, opened in 1990 and extensively renovated in 2006, is concerned both with industrial archaeology and with science, and particularly with questions about energy. Visitors can follow the course of the coal used in the power station from the wharfs where it was unloaded from vessels on the river, along elevators to silos and sieves, and then to the boiler rooms. The low pressure boiler room is now an expedition space, and beyond the high pressure boilers than remain in place is the area where ash was collected, where working conditions were the worst in the power station. Visitors then see the water room, where they can trade the journey of water, then of steam through boilers, condensers and cooling systems, before examining the generators and then the control room.
There is a permanent exhibition ‘Faces of the Tejo’ commemorating those who worked at the power station. The museum also displays an extensive collection of electricity generating equipment from the 1930s to the 1950s, and holds large numbers of documents and photographs relating to the industry.
It is also a cultural centre, the location of exhibitions on such subjects as painting, sculpture and photography.