Located in the village of Ribeira Brava, the museum displays various aspects of the culture and ethnography of Madeira.

In the begging of 17th century the Madeira Ethnographic Museum integrated a building property of the Convent of Santa Clara in Funchal.

In 1853, José Maria Barreto, the last Administrator of São José domains, reconstructed this ruined property into an industrial facility and established a partnership with Jorge de Oliveira.
In 1862, a sugar cane mill powered by animals, and a brandy distillery were assembled within these premises.

The Madeira Regional Government decided to set up in Ribeira Brava old brandy distillery the Madeira Ethnographic Museum, a project designed by the architect João Francisco Caíres, which was officially opened to the public on June 15th 1996.

The primary purpose of this Museum is connected with the research, documentation, conservation and promotion of the islands culture and ethnography. This museum includes collections depicting various social, economic and cultural aspects of Madeira.

The permanent exhibition area is organized by several themes: “production based-activities” (fishing, Wine, cereals and flax production cycles), transports, households rooms (kitchen and bedroom) and traditional shops (grocery store).