The collection is presented chronologically along the spaces distributed across the ground floor. Although all periods are represented, the priority given to the sections dedicated to the Roman presence, which is portrayed in various aspects of everyday life, is undeniable, through the abundant collection – mainly ceramics – recovered on numerous excavation campaigns in this region.
The majority of the collection is the result of excavations carried out in the Alto Alentejo area by António Dias de Deus and Luís Agostinho, employees of the Vila Fernando Penal Colony. The volume and importance of the findings interested Abel Viana, who organised and studied the pieces and was responsible for the creation and organisation of the museum.
Some pieces that belonged to the archaeological collections gathered by King Luís I and architectural elements from various periods that were collected following the successive works to the constructed heritage of Vila Viçosa and surroundings can also be viewed.