The UFRGS Museum was built in 1984, and since then, it has been working with the history and identity of UFRGS and of Porto Alegre. The Museum hosts scientific and cultural themed expositions, open to photographic and documental research. Conceptually structured and designed to demonstrate the works of Museum Studies, Education, and History, the Museum values preservation, investigation and communication. Its collections are formed by documents from the History Commissions, institutional photos from the Communications Department (today the Social Communication Department) and from funds generated by research. These collections have been a source of investigation, not only for the university community (including valuable evidence for the production of monographs, dissertations and thesis papers), but also for many different kinds of production in the fields of media and social communication.
Since 1984, the Museum has been a source of information for many different fields of knowledge, and a space for expanding teaching activities, providing unique experiences for students and promoting an exchange among the many different units of UFRGS. The Museum has a socio-educational-cultural section which offers different activities, focusing on developing an interdisciplinary approach as well as accessibility. Additionally, it supports professors and groups on the planning of visits to spaces of the Museum, through didactic and pedagogical resources.
To increase the interaction between society and the technological, scientific and cultural production of the University, in addition to the historical testimonies of the institution, all promoting a transformation of the full patrimony into cultural heritage, result of appropriation and sense of belonging from the citizens and society.
To perceive the Museum as a space capable of stimulating reflection and the re-appropriation of patrimony from historical testimonies, strengthening the sense of identity, belonging, and self-development for the citizen and for the community.
The UFRGS’ Museum serves the community by offering its display of collections (rescuing, saving, and conserving research and documents), thus valuing the cultural opportunity for all. The collections including the photo-documental records hold about 10.000 images related to the history of UFRGS, Porto Alegre and of Rio Grande do Sul. Subcollections include documents donated by the History Commission, registering the origin of the Faculty of Philosophy, the complete collection of School of Engineering’s EGATEA magazine, as well as the documental evidence of the 100 year anniversary of CEUE - Centro de Estudantes Universitários de Engenharia, one of the oldest associations of its kind in the country. The historical artifacts collection comprises scientific instruments, equipment, teaching material, textbooks and miscellaneous objects, such as testimonials of teaching practices, research, extension and management at UFRGS. Another important collection to the history of the university is the Acervo das Alices, which is composed of the Atelier, a total of 512 works of art by artists Alice Soares, former professor of the Institute of Arts, and Alice Brueggman.
The photo-document collection of the UFRGS Museum originated with the Projeto Especial de Recuperação do Acervo (Special Project for the Recovery of the Collection), originally organized by the Núcleo de Documentação e Memória Social (Center of Documentation and Social Memory), and it consists of pictures about the history of Porto Alegre and Rio Grande do Sul, and documents about the history of UFRGS. Later, donations were made by the former UFRGS Media Relations Department (today known as Communication Department), and by several private institutions, as well as organized institutions such as CEUE – Centro de Estudantes Universitários de Engenharia (Center of Engineering University Students.)
After the collection was moved to a new location in the museum, they began to restore and catalog science artifacts. Later several scientific instruments gathered from various units and from the university’s property administration department were added, constituting the present-day 3D collection.
The UFRGS Museum collection’s classification, cataloguing and registration is a continuous activity, given that some collections are in constant growth, such as those generated from exhibitions and other cultural events. In addition to the advancements made with discussion regarding the area of museum studies, some modifications have been made across the methodologies and technical work involved in the maintenance of the collection. Following museographic guidance, considered to be the most adequate in its field, the museum was divided into sub-collections, the most important ones related to the history of UFRGS, Porto Alegre and Rio Grande do Sul.