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Preserving the history of Portuguese immigrants
The Portuguese Historical Museum opened on June 7, 1997, just a few days before Portugal Day, which is commemorated on June 10 annually. The museum is one of the major attractions of History San José. In keeping with the theme of the historical park, it depicts life as it was in the Santa Clara Valley (now known as Silicon Valley) at the turn of the 20th century. The Portuguese Historical Museum is a replica of the first permanent império (Chapel to the Holy Spirit) built in San José circa 1915. It was constructed on the present site of the I.E.S. Hall on East Santa Clara Street and U.S. 101.
The império, like many of its counterparts in the Azores, was built to honor the Holy Spirit. It also served as the center of much social and religious activity. At the turn of the century, it represented the continuation of celebrated traditions that helped make easier the immigrants’ transition from the old world to the new by maintaining strong bonds to their heritage.