Originally founded in 1948, the Museu de Arte Popular was dedicated to showcasing folk art from Portugal’s different regions. Its collection comprised of over 15,000 pieces of ceramics, jewellery, musical instruments, basketry and textiles, representing the diverse national craftsmanship traditions. The museum closed in 2006, and its vast collection was moved to the Museu Nacional Etnologia in 2012. In 2016, the museum reopened a permanent collection, where some of the items of the original collection are on display and it hosts temporary exhibitions.
The building of the Museu de Arte Popular is one of the few remaining structures originally built for the Portuguese World Exhibition in Lisbon in 1940, and was designated as a Monument of Public Interest in 2012. The interiors are decorated with murals from the 1940s presenting different social scenes, painted by artists Eduardo Anahory, Carlos Botelho, Estrela Faria, Paulo Ferreira and Manuel Lapa.