A Museum Dedicated to Matchboxes in Tomar

Portugal has a rich history and attached to this are several tributes to the historical relevance of the country. There are several unique museums that are littered throughout the country, and one is even dedicated to matchboxes. The Museu dos Fosforos is a museum that is filled with matchboxes that you’ll find in Tomar, in the central region of Portugal. Numerous collections in the museum involve things related to matches in the museum. You most likely would not have thought of matchboxes as something to collect or admire before. But there are tens of thousands matchboxes that you will see as attractive, and you’ll be amazed by their amazing visual effects. Most tourists will be visiting Tomar because they want to go to the Convento de Cristo, which is the Knights Templar’s former headquarters. But you should be going to the Museu dos Fosforos as well if you visit Tomar. Don’t let horrible weather stop you from going to the museum. Even if the museum is closed for a while until it’s open, it is worth the visit. It is a fantastic experience that you can take part in for free.

A Museum Dedicated to Matchboxes in Tomar
A Museum Dedicated to Matchboxes in Tomar

What’s In The Museum

The matchbox collection in the museum is truly astounding. It has matchboxes from almost every single country from around the world. Some matchboxes even come from countries that don’t exist anymore. It is something you might think is fascinating or absurd. This museum is filled with social history, but some see it as kitsch. The museum is a monument to how human nature is ridiculous and obsessive. The whole thing is an effort by one man to have something in his name left in the world. The man behind it all is Aquiles Da Mota Lima. Everything he has achieved is somewhat of a legend. If people like him didn’t exist in the world, the world wouldn’t be as entertaining as it is now and it wouldn’t be as liveable. There are more than forty thousand matchboxes in the museum that come from over a hundred countries. They all date back to the 1820s. There are about two million matches housed within the museum, which is probably an exciting thing they talk about when they discuss the fire safety in the museum. If you are the only person in the museum, the museum’s attendant might be able to tell you all about the history of the museum and its owner. But it’s worth looking around yourself even if you don’t get the history lesson.

How The Collection Started

The collection had its roots in 1953. Aquiles was on a boat on the way to England to get to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. While he was on that boat, he met a woman that was a collector of matchboxes, and he was asked by the woman to send some matchboxes from the coronation that he was going to be attending. He did indeed send a couple of matchboxes to the woman, but he also kept a few for himself. Saving those matchboxes for himself marked the beginning of his fascination with matchbox collection. The first matchbox he had in his collection had the head of Elizabeth II right on the box. It is displayed proudly in the museum. It is the first one he has ever gotten for his collection after all. The matchboxes depict almost anything you can think of, such as flags, animals, cars, famous people, and so much more. There is so much more to matchboxes than having matches in them if you’re someone as fascinating as Aquiles.

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