Immigrants make up a very important part of Brazil’s past and present. Many don’t realize that Brazil was a hub for immigrants from all over the world in the 19th and 20th centuries. Immigrants from Italy, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Japan and elsewhere immigrated to São Paulo by the millions, and today immigrant populations are an important part of the city’s dynamic and cultural identity.
The Immigration Museum is set in the same place where many of Brazil’s immigrants were received starting in the late 19th-century. For many of them, this building became a temporary residence. Today the museum preserves many things from everyday life in that period, including the bunk bends where immigrants slept, their clothes, shoes, and other knick-knacks. The museum’s permanent exhibit, ‘Migration: experiences, memories and identities,’ has well-preserved documents and records, as well as photographs and portraits, which give visitors a sense of the lives and struggles of the immigrant population.
The exterior has lovely gardens, a small café and nice views of the museum’s beautiful architecture. Paths wind around the gardens and are dotted with antiques from this time, including several early-20th century cars and an old steam train.
The Immigration Museum is located at Rua Visconde de Parnaíba, 1316 in the Mooca neighborhood of São Paulo. It is open Tuesday–Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is R$6 for adults and R$3 for students and is free on Saturdays.