The Milk Station Museum was established by the Aboim Sande Lemos Foundation (FASL) in order to divulge the history of the pioneering institution that created the first Milk Station in Portugal, where quality milk was distributed daily at no cost, while paediatric assistance was also provided to all children using its services.
The collection on display provides a view of the history and of the support provided to children by the milk station, as well of the development of its activity on the national and international stage, through material testimonies, with emphasis on the country’s first incubators.
At the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the infant mortality rate in Portugal was quite high. To improve living conditions of the children of the Alfama district, where there was a population with obvious food shortages and poor living conditions, Colonel Rodrigo António Aboim Ascensão (1859-1930), commander of the Fiscal Guard Cavalry Company in this district, decided to set up an institution.
Thus, in 1901, an association was born, dedicated to supporting early childhood and inspired by the French gouttes-de-lait (milk drops) model set up by paediatrician Léon Dufour (1856-1928).
It was an innovative model that provided an unprecedented offer in Portugal: distribution of quality-controlled milk to children during the lactation and paediatric support period. Known as the Milk Station, it was set up at premises by the Alfama district, in buildings designed by architect Miguel Ventura Terra (1866-1919).
The service involved these separate areas: Milk Production, responsible for the production of hygienic milk; Milk Station, which distributed milk on prescription on a daily basis; Medical Service, with a paediatrician who weekly monitored each user and provided neonatal support with a state-of-the-art technology at the time: Alexandre Lion incubators; Social Service, which lent support to the family through the work of the Assistant Protectors; and Administrative Service, responsible for the management of the Association and for communication with the outside world.