The Pavilhão de Segurança (“Security Pavilion”) Museum is one of Lisbon’s least-known and most unusual attractions.
Found in a hospital’s 19th century panopticon (a circular prison where prisoners are observed at all times), it’s a recently renovated space to show the art created by mentally-ill patients.
The building is of architectural interest, as it is the only panopticon in the world with an open-air courtyard. It is surrounded by 26 cells and in addition to the 3500 sketches, paintings and sculptures (called “art of the insane,” or “raw art” or “outsider art” in the art world) there are displays of furnishings that made up this hospital-prison. Many of them are interesting examples of industrial design of the 1920s and 30s, and there is also some rather disturbing medical equipment.
The museum is free to visit, and it’s open on Mondays, when most others in the city are closed. The opening times on that day are 2PM-6PM, as it is on Saturdays. The third opening day is Wednesdays, from 11:30AM-1PM. On all other weekdays, visits are by appointment only, and you may also ask for a guided tour.
Address: Rua Dr. Almeida Amaral, 1