Madrid Travel Guide: History Museum - Museo de Historia

The building of the History Museum boasts an exuberantly ornate entrance by Pedro de Ribera, one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in Madrid, and worth seeing in itself.

The City Council is currently achieving the last remodelling phase on the Museo Municipal, keeping in mind two objectives: to restore and to recover one of the best examples of Madrid´s baroque art, the old Hospicio, and to put into order and give a boost to one of the city´s main museums.

The objectives of the project

Madrid City Council continues to renovate the Municipal Museum, in order to restore it and recover one of the best examples of Madrid baroque architecture, while putting in order and giving a boost to one of the capital’s main museums. On the basis of these two ideas, in July 2002 renovation work began on this historic building, built by Pedro Ribera and which has been a National Monument since 1919.

Given the interest value of its stock, which comprises over 60,000 pieces, and its value to the historical memory of Madrid, the Municipal Government has kept the museum’s activity running throughout the renovation works. When the process concludes, the Museo Municipal will have become firmly established as a fundamental element of cultural tourism in Madrid.

The architectural renovation process

The keynote of this integral renovation process, directed by architect Juan Pablo Rodríguez Frade, is the scrupulous respect paid to the architectural and artistic values. On the one hand, the works have addressed the problems that afflicted the old building and the lack of air conditioning, circulation, illumination and security. On the other hand, architectural barriers have been eliminated to improve accessibility to this municipal facility.

Meanwhile, these works will also enable more exhibition spaces and new services – such as gathering areas, rooms for didactic activities or research, a library, restoration and photography workshops, or visitable warehouses – to be made available to visitors, all of which are fitted out with the most advanced equipment.

The first phase of the work began in July 2002 and ended in October 2003. It consisted of the remodelling of wrought iron items, the provisional installation of offices and store rooms, and the selection and preparation for display of certain items from the stock, for these to be visited by the public.

The second phase involves adapting the posterior space of the building into an office area.

The third and final phase includes the restoration of the façade and the remodelling of the whole perimeter.

Computerisation of the collections

The project goes beyond the mere architectural remodelling. It goes hand in hand with the wish of the municipal Government to give this museum, created in 1929, a boost through a thorough reorganisation of the collections and permanent exhibition.

With this spirit the museum will revitalise the management of the stock it holds within, and boost the circulation of this and the activities it implements, improving methods in the areas of structure and information, as well as in signage, illumination, models and multimedia technology.

Madrid´s historical memory

The museum holds around 60,000 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, porcelain, coins and postcards. All of these items have notable aesthetic value, though the historic significance they carry is of greater importance.

The museum’s collection is one of the best examples of the historic evolution of Madrid, and offers a global vision of the arts, industries, daily life and customs of its inhabitants since 1561, when the city was chosen to be the capital of Spain, to the present day. Citizens can see for themselves by visiting the exhibition Madriziudad ¿Hemos cambiado en 4 siglos? (MadridCity. Have we changed over the last 4 centuries?), on display in the museum chapel, which constitutes an important ‘rehearsal’ for the future permanent exhibition.

Address C/Fuencarral 78
Transport Metro Tribunal .
Telephone 91 701 18 63
Open Sept-July 9.30am-8pm Tue-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat, Sun. Aug 9.30am-2.30pm Tue-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat, Sun.

Admission free.

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