Côa Museum

Location Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Douro
Promotor IGESPAR
Status Delivered
Year 2010

Scope Strategic evaluation for the potential of Foz Côa Museum and Archaeological Park


The Côa Museum pays homage to the history of an art with more than 25.000 years, a legacy of extreme importance for the development and differentiation of tourism in the region of Foz Côa. Dating back to the Upper Palaeolithic period, the rock art engravings along the Côa Valley constitute a unique outdoor art gallery. The final 17 kilometres of the River Côa, with hundreds of Palaeolithic engravings on its banks stretching into the River Douro, were incorporated into the first Portuguese archaeological park which was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in December 1998. The unique collection can be interpreted through visits to the park complemented by the museum exhibition displaying original mobile art, replicas of the larger engravings and interactive information using sate of the art digital technology.


Placemakers was responsible for defining the strategy and business model which considered the connection between the museum and the archaeological park, as well as between the museum and the other heritage assets in the region. The objective was to stimulate social and economic development and regional tourism using the leverage and potential of the World Heritage as a regional “anchor” with national and international reach.

Our services in this project included the audit of the museum areas, revision of the operational plan and identification of factors for the optimization and added value for the visitor experience. Following this we undertook a strategic project optimization analysis which included proposals for programming, human resources, ticketing policy and the management model itself.

The Placemakers proposal was to drive the potential for a new “anchor” attracting new visitors to the Côa Valley region on an international scale, promoting the symbiosis of local heritage and community and designed to create a stimulus for regional social and economic development thereby adding to the value of this unique heritage.


In an unprecedented move for this Institution, we awarded this team the tasks of undertaking a strategic evaluation of the museum and archaeological park of Foz Côa, and provide us with a market opportunity analysis and business strategy, together with a social economic and tourism development plan for the region. The output now constitutes a roadmap for the future management organisation.


Gonçalo Couceiro

Director, IGESPAR