The MUHNAC - National Museum of Natural
History and Science is the public designation of the unit Museums of
the University of Lisbon, founded in October 2011. This unit
incorporated the National Museum of Natural History and the
University of Lisbon Science Museum, integrating their collections,
the old buildings of the Polytechnic School, the Lisbon Botanical
Gardens and the Lisbon Astronomical Observatory (this one since July
The National Museum of Natural History
had its origins in the Royal Natural History Museum and Botanical
Garden, created in the second half of the eighteenth century, in
Ajuda (Lisbon). It was then housed for a short period in the Royal
Academy of Sciences and finally transferred to the Polytechnic School
(1858), first denominated as the National Museum of Lisbon (1861).
The Botanic Gardens of Lisbon
officially opened in 1878.
In 1911, with the creation of the
University of Lisbon, the Museum was attached to the Faculty of
Sciences, taking the name of National Museum of Natural History
In March 1978 a devastating fire
destroyed much of the building of the former Polytechnic School, as
well as the Zoology collections and part of the Geology collections.
The Faculty then began the process of moving to other premises.
The Science Museum of the University of
Lisbon was created in May 1985, sharing the same building with the
National Museum of Natural History.
Both museums were given new bylaws in
2003, becoming autonomous from the Faculty of Sciences and under the
direct administration of the Rector of the University of Lisbon.