At present the museum’s collection comprises around 2.500 stage costumes, the following nuclei being of special importance:
Nucleus "Eduardo Brazão"
Stage costumes of great historical accuracy, trying to reproduce with exactitude the real period costumes of the characters they clothe. Manufactured between 1881 and 1896, they are in an excellent state of preservation, after having been restored. They are made of high quality fabrics and materials. This nucleus also has a remarkable collection of arms (false and authentic) and stage jewellery. There are period photographs of all these costumes worn by the respective actors; there are no costume designs. Presented to the public in two exhibitions.
- Nucleus "Teatro do Povo" / "Teatro Nacional Popular" (People’s Theatre / National Popular Theatre) -
Costumes conceived by important theatrical designers, with markedly ideological (nationalistic) influences, executed with great mastery but using poor quality materials and fabrics, yet creating spectacular effects. Dating from 1935 to 1955, they are in a good state of conservation, although some have been greatly restores. There are stage photographs and a significant number of original designs. Part of this nucleus was presented in the exhibition "Os Clássicos em Lisboa" (The Classics in Lisbon).
Nucleus "Bailados Verde Gaio" (Verde Gaio Ballets) Inspired (tardily) by the Ballet Russes and on Portuguese popular and folklore tradition. It is a nucleus of great beauty and spectacular effect. Executed between1940 and 1949, the costumes are in an excellent state of conservation. There is a great collection of original design and many stage photographs.
Nucleus "Companhia Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro" Costumes from several periods and which differ in their mode of execution, some of fine aesthetic quality and manufacture. Many of these were, initially, ordinary daily costumes adapted for the theatre. They date from 1924 to 1973. Some of them were presented during the exhibition referring to that company. Furthermore, there is na interesting collection of ladies’ hats, of stage jewellery and props and various objects. There are many stage photographs and original costume designs.
Collection "Auto da Alma / Almada Negreiros"
12 stage costumes for the play "O Auto da Alma", by Gil Vicente, designed and partially executed by the great Portuguese artist Almada Negreiros, at the request of the Companhia Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro. These costumes are of the great artistic interest and value as cultural patrimony. Some of them are inspired by the ecclesiastical robes worn by the bishops painted by Zurbarán. These costumes have been presented by this Museum in an exhibition dedicated exclusively to them. Some have also been presented in Paris, in 1998. The original designs exist, but they are in a private collection.
Matching these costumes, there are stage props such as a stained glass window and a crucifix, both designed and manufactured by the painter Almada Negreiros. There are photographs of these. A curiosity: this theatre production is the only play that the Portuguese dictator Salazar ever attended.
Collection "Amália Rodrigues"
Approximately 60 stage costumes (for the theatre, cinema, and the stage) belonging to this great artist, one of the most inspired popular singer of this century. They were mostly designed by haute couture houses or by theatrical designers. Of great aesthetic quality and rigour, they have been shown in a series of exhibition, either in this Museum or in other exhibition spaces. Accompanying these costumes there are also jewels (stage costume jewellery as well as real ones) and other props. There are many photographs, documentaries, etc. featuring these costumes.
Other important nuclei are those pertaining to the actresses Maria Matos, Hortense Luz, Ivone Silva, Laura Alves, Eunice Muñoz and Luzia Maria Martins/Helena Félix/Teatro Estúdio de Lisboa, and, furthermore, costumes or accessories worn by João e Augusto Rosa, Chaby Pinheiro, António Pinheiro, Palmira Bastos, Ilda Stichini, João Villaret, Mirita Casimiro, José de Castro, Paulo Renato, Glória de Matos, Lia Gama, Maria do Céu Guerra, Mário Viegas and Rogério Samora.
Also worthy of note is the oldest stage costume that exists in this Museum, worn by the actress Virgínia, in a play "The Princess from Bagdad", in 1881.
The Museum has a textile restoration workshop that carries out all the conservation and restoration work on the costumes, supports the setting up of the exhibition of these items and also takes part in stipulating which actions should be carried out for their preventive conservation. This department also provides advice regarding the time that each item can be exhibited for, in accordance with the state of conservation of the fabrics and the conditions of the exhibition itself.
09 December 2009