As the bohemian and artistic epicenter of northern Brazil, it should come as no surprise to find a plethora of fine museums and galleries spread throughout this charming colonial town. From traveling puppet exhibitions to fine contemporary art, here are the best places to get your culture fix in Olinda.
Museu de Arte Contemporânea
Museu de Arte Sacra
Those who like their art a little more holy should check out this impressive sacred art museum. Many of the statues, paintings, and ornaments on display date back centuries and there is plenty of interesting information as to how Catholicism became so widespread in the region.
Perhaps Olinda’s quirkiest museum, this whimsical house is dedicated to the Mamulengo, a kind of traveling puppet show that is adored throughout northeast Brazil. Most of the thousand-odd colorful handcrafted dolls represent local figures such as saints, politicians, or folk heroes and the larger ones are often incorporated into the city’s carnival.
Museu Regional de Olinda
To get up to speed on your regional history, pay a visit to this regal 16th-century residence which features a number of informative displays about Olinda’s colonial past. In-house artifacts include paintings, furniture, silverware, and artwork.
Espaço Ciência Museu
Shared between Olinda and the neighboring metropolis of Recife, this superb space, science, and technology museum hosts a number of exhibits across a broad range of fields. Fiberglass dinosaur displays and nighttime astral observation sessions are particularly popular with the kids.
As the private gallery of Sergio Vilanova, one of the region’s most popular painters, Atelier Vilanova features a dizzying array of his most colorful creations, many of which are up for sale. Sergio himself lives upstairs and has been known to come down to interact with the public from time to time.
Atelier Vilanova, R. do Amparo, 224 – Amparo, Olinda – PE, Brazil +55 81 3494-3955
A Casa do Cachorro Preto
Become fully submerged into the Olinda arts scene by paying a visit to the Black Dog House, a happening cultural cafe that showcases a rotating selection of works from up and coming local artists. During the evenings, events such as movie nights or live music shows are a great opportunity to interact with the artists themselves.