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The Hat Museum is overseen by the City Hall of S. João da Madeira.
In 1996, the municipality purchased the assets (machines, tools, documents, and so on) of several companies that had closed during those years. The municipality also bought the building of the most important hats company of the city, the Empresa Industrial de Chapelaria (EICHAP) where is nowadays the museum.
Over the following ten years, several multidisciplinary teams had developed research projects, most of them financed by the Portuguese Institute of Museums / Portuguese Museums Network and by the Municipality of S. João da Madeira. These studies were the basis of the musealization process of this industry.
The rehabilitation of the building was financed under the Operational Programme for Culture (European funds). The inauguration of the Hat Museum happened in 22 June 2005, attended by the then President of the Republic, Jorge Sampaio, and the Mayor M. Castro Almeida.



In 2005, the Hat Museum was distinguished with an Honorable Mention in the Best Portuguese Museum category , by the Portuguese Association of Museology (APOM).

In 2010, the Hat Museum was awarded with an Honorable Mention in the category of Best Educational Service by the Portuguese Association of Museology (APOM).

In May 2010, the Hat Museum received its Accreditation by the Portuguese Museums Network , being recognized the quality of the technical, scientific and cultural work of the institution. After this, the museum was integrated in the Portuguese Museums Network.