The National Coach Museum (Portuguese: Museu Nacional dos Coches) was created at the initiative of Queen Amélia of Orleans and Braganza, the wife of King Carlos I, in 1905. Queen Amélia, proposed bringing together the Royal Household’s ceremonial coaches and carriages in one place, preserving them and showing them to the public. The site chosen for the museum was the former Royal Riding School at Belém Palace. When the museum first opened it housed a collection of 29 vehicles, dress uniforms, harnesses and riding accessories used by the royal family.
The museum has since grown to have one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world. In 2015 on its 110th anniversary The National Coach Museum, added a new building across the street designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The new site made it possible to show more accessories and carriages that weren’t previously shown. Today the Museum houses a large one-of-a-kind collection due to the artistic diversity and splendor of the ceremonial vehicles from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Among its most outstanding items is a travelling coach used by King Philip II of Portugal to travel from Spain to Portugal in 1619. There are also many pompous Baroque 18th century carriages decorated with paintings and luxurious gilt woodwork, the most magnificent of these being a ceremonial coach given by Pope Clement XI to King John V in 1715, and the three coaches of the Portuguese embassador to Pope Clement XI, built in Rome in 1716. Rounding off the Museum’s collection are team harnesses, riding tackle, saddles, dress uniforms, ceremonial armoury and 18th century processional accessories, as well as oil paintings of the monarchs of Braganza dynasty.