Abstract: In 1934, the First Portuguese Colonial Exhibition was held in the gardens of the Crystal Palace, in Porto. This “first lesson in colonialism given to the Portuguese people” integrated a set of political, colonial and commercial strategies of ideological legitimation of the civilising mission of Portuguese colonisation, perpetuating historiographical myths of the “good coloniser” and distorting stereotypes about colonised subjects. The “sample-exhibition” of the Portuguese Empire consisted of an official section (“scientific” exhibitions), a private one (400 pavilions of trademarks) and one of attractions (train, cable car, luna park, theater, cinema, zoo, etc.). However, the biggest attraction was a large open-air exhibition re-creating “indigenous villages” from the various Portuguese colonies. To be exhibited there, 324 people were “brought” to represent the various civilisational states that the exhibition intended to spread. This “human zoo” served to structure the reading of the “Other” according to the hegemonic Eurocentric lens. For the exhibition’s mascot, which attracted 1.3 million visitors, an elephant was chosen, materialised in a huge sculpture on the Crystal Palace and reproduced in prints and porcelain miniatures. It was this elephant that inspired and named the program An Elephant in the Crystal Palace which a curatorial team proposed in response to an invitation from the Municipal Gallery of Porto, currently operating in the same location, to develop a public program on the colonial exhibition. The program was not intended to be merely discursive, presenting a situated perspective in which curators and invited experts could have critical and creative autonomy in its production. Critically revisiting today the space that hosted the colonial exhibition with a program of activities that brought together artists, activists, academics, students, teachers and a diverse audience has become an urgent collective exercise in reflecting on an invisibilised event in the history of Porto.