Madeira Island
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  The Museum of Natural History  


The Museum of Natural History ( Museu de História Natural ) is conveniently located in the government run botanical gardens ( Jardim Botânico ) in the area known as "Bom Sucesso" on the western hillside of the Funchal amphitheatre.

Gardens at the Jardim Botanico
The beautiful garden in front of the natural History Museum . Picture Courtesy of MadMulti - from their CD Madeira Photos. Available for purchase from

The museum was opened in 1982 in one of several buildings that form part of the odd 35 000 m2 of the botanical garden (a tapestry of colourful plants showing one of the parts of the garden is shown alongside). The museum is indeed the culmination and legacy of Ernesto João Smith - a priest and esteemed ornithologist. The Jesuit priest, with the help of fellow brethren and others, managed the enormous task of collating, discriminating, organising and then classifying many different species of Fauna and Flora of the Madeiran Archipelago, including many specimens from the ocean floor and coastal areas.

The huge collection of specimens include many rare species that may be facing extinction in the near future. The museum includes many other examples of fauna that are endemic to Madeira and Porto Santo: many insects are on display, molluscs from both land and water, fish and other crustaceans or shell fish from off shore, and many examples of sea flora including algae and mosses. The Museum of Natural History is unique in that many of the specimens held under its auspices are not found or recorded anywhere else in the world. For archaeological enthusiasts there is an example of a petrified tree stump showing elements of the prehistory of the island and its volcanic origins.

This is one of the most pleasant museums to visit. Especially since it is situated in the large and expansive botanical gardens (which house thousands of examples of live flora from many parts of Macaronesia - the Azores, Madeira, Canary and Cape Verde archipelagos). But it might be quite unpleasant for those persons who have the dreaded phobia of encountering many "creepy-crawlies"...


More Info :

  • Opening Times :
    Mondays to Sundays:
    open from 08H00 to 18H00

    Closed on 25 December each year.

  • Contact:
    Museu de História Natural
    Quinta do Bom Successo
    Caminho do Meio
    9050 Funchal
    Tel: (+351 +91) 200 2000
    (+351 +91) 200 2006

  • Admission:
    Adults -
    300$00 PTE (Portuguese Escudos)
    Children - 100$00 PTE

  • Getting There:
    Bus Services Nº 29, 30, and 31 all pass the museum.
    Bus service nº 31 has as its terminus the Botanical Gardens.
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