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The first attempt at placing in a museum the Companhia das Águas de Lisboa’s heritage was in 1919, following a decision by the General Meeting. A department was then created to be responsible for the design, archive, library and museum work. Implicit was the duty to organise and preserve a variety of pieces with unique features that could make up an exhibition area.

At the end of the 1930’s the first stock-taking process was held with the goal of organising the heritage amassed over two decades.

Later, in 1950 and following the demolition of the boilers at the former Barbadinhos Steam Pumping Station, the building was revamped and a first floor was built in the south and central wings. This extension was meant to house the company’s current archive and the laboratory facilities. At the same time, the first steps were taken to create a museum area.

A permanent collection was finally set up in 1987, where the history of the development of the water supply to the city of Lisbon was highlighted, from the Roman times to today. A series of pieces belonging to the company’s collection were displayed.

In 1990 the Water Museum was awarded the Council of Europe prize and is the only Portuguese museum to hold such a distinction, which contributes to the understanding and knowledge of the European cultural heritage, as well as raising awareness of its identity.

The first permanent collection was displayed until December 2013, when new refurbishment works began on the Barbadinhos Steam Pumping Station, focusing particularly on accessibility, modernisation and updating the display area and making the industrial heritage on display noteworthy.

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