The Museu de Alberto Sampaio was created in 1928 to house the artistic assets of the extinct Colegiada de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira and of other churches and convents of Guimarães, which were then in the ownership of the State (Decree-Law no. 15209 from 17 March 1928). On that date, Alfredo Guimarães was officially delegated to accompany the restoration work on the Museum buildings. On 1 August 1931, the Museu Regional de Alberto Sampaio was officially inaugurated. On 26 July 1932, a new Decree-Law was issued, defining and codifying the Museum’s operational status. Alfredo Guimarães was officially nominated as the Museum’s Director on 19 October 1932.
The Museu de Alberto Sampaio is located in the heart of the Historic Centre, in the place where Countess Mumadona ordered a monastery to be built in the 10th century. Although it was initially a double monastery, at the beginning of the 12th century it became a Collegiate Church, having then undergone some rebuilding.
However, it was in the reign of Dom João I that major enlargement and improvement of the buildings of the Collegiate Church began. The construction of a new church dedicated to Saint Mary of Guimarães began and finished during the reign of this king. In the 16th century, the church, cloister and House of the Priorate underwent significant renovation works and during the following centuries the Church was under constant alteration with some additions being made. At the end of the 18th century, a great reconstruction of the Chapter House, the building that today serves as the main entrance to the Museum, took place. When the buildings belonging to the Colegiada de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira passed into the hands of the State, an important programme of works was undertaken aiming at adapting the building to the needs of a museum. These works began on the cloister and the 1st floor of the House of the Priorate on 14 May 1928.
In 1935, works for converting the building finished and the Museum gained the Cloister and five more rooms as exhibition space for its collections. Besides these, there were three more rooms in which the library, administrative services and storage area of the Museum functioned. In the 1960’s the Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais do Norte undertakes conservation works and the restoration and remodelling of all the House of the Priorate building and Chapter House.
After several years of rebuilding works, the new spaces were inaugurated in 1967 and, from then on, the Museum could count with modern services, a conferences room and other rooms for temporary exhibitions.
Between 1999 and 2004, the Museum underwent further restoration and remodelling works and was endowed with a new look: the reception area and the museum storage and exhibition spaces were renewed.