The Martorell Museum: the first public museum in Barcelona

black and white photograph of exterior of a museum building

The Martorell Museum of Geology in Barcelona was the first building in the city to be a public museum.

The museum is located inside Barcelona’s Ciutadella Park, housed in an impressive building with large stone columns.

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The museum stems from the collection of trader, archaeologist, scholar and collector Francesc Martorell i Peña.

Throughout his life, he gathered a large collection of objects, including specimens of natural history – zoology, botany, geology, fossils, archaeological objects, books and coins.

When he died in 1878, he left his collection to Barcelona City Council, together with his library and financial resources to build the museum.

On September 25, 1882 the museum was opened by Barcelona’s Mayor Francesc Rius i Taulet, initially as a museum of archaeology and natural sciences.

The historic museum was the origin of the Barcelona’s Museum of Natural Sciences. Since 1924, the museum has been dedicated entirely to geology collections.

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Unfortunately, it’s not currently possible to visit this historic museum – it closed for renovations in 2010 and has yet to re-open. But it can be seen from outside during a visit to Ciutadella Park.

By Adrian Murphy, Europeana Foundation

This blog is part of Europeana’s Discovering Europe season featuring cultural jewels and hidden gems from across the continent.

Feature image: Museo Martorell, Barcelona, Ajuntament de Girona, Public Domain

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