Established in 1964, the Archaeological Museum in Old Goa is a well known centre for viewing some of the most unique artefacts from the olden times. Renovated and restructured in 1981–82, the museum exists in the convent section of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, with 8 galleries displaying varied antiquities including objects from the prehistoric and early historic time to the late medieval period of human existence.
It is said, that primarily the museum is significant due to its display of portraits and paintings of the governors and viceroys of the Indian subcontinent, wooden sculptures, postal stamps, pillars, to name a few, which all play a pivotal role in sharing the reminiscences of the past Portuguese period in Goa.
The exhibits in the Archaeological Museum of Old Goa have been provided in such a manner that they display the significant objects best and from a raised pedestal that are made from the heavy stones and wooden substance. The portraits too are put on display in such a way that it utilizes both the natural day light and the artificial lights during the night.
Maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), some of the master pieces of the Archaeological Museum, Old Goa collection incorporates Luis Vaz de Cameos, idols of Lord Surya, Lord Vishnu with ten incarnations, Gajalakshmi statue, wooden sculpture of John the Baptist, along with ivory sculptures of Jesus’ Crucifixion, hero stone, sati stone, Persian and Arabic inscriptions from the past, bronze statue of Albuquerque who was the first governor of Goa, portrait paintings of Com Joa de Castro, Vasco da Gama, Portuguese armaments like rifle, swords and daggers, and many more.
One of the sections of the museum is called the "Portrait Gallery" which possesses more than sixty paintings of the Portuguese Governors and Viceroys who administered Goa in the very beginning, starting from the first- Dom Joao de Castro (1545-48) to Dom Vasco da Gama (1524), Bernardo Peres da Silva (1835) and the longest serving governor of Goa, Jose Ferreira de Pestano (1844-51 and 1864-70).