Although many Portuguese towns and cities are characterized by well-preserved, historic architecture, some contemporary architects are using modern ideas to advance this traditional language of design. At the same time, Portuguese designers are careful to maintain and honor the legacy of artists and architects who came before them. Museums in particular play a key role in these preservation efforts by containing and exhibiting this history, but just as importantly, by embodying it, and becoming a modern interpretation of the very traditions it investigates. It is not enough for a building to display important cultural histories and artifacts if the museum’s design is not sensitive to this program. This is especially important when a nation’s architecture and urban planning are themselves of great historical significance.