Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya - History and Facts | History Hit

Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya exhibits archaeological finds from prehistory to medieval times.

Peta Stamper

25 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Enfo / CC

About Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya

The Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya, or MAC, is a museum composed by a group of five museums and archaeological sites in Catalonia, but its venue in Barcelona lies at the Palau d’Arts Gràfiques.

Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya history

In 1879, under the restored Bourbon dynasty and as Catalan nationalism was growing, the State created the Provincial Museum of Antiquities in the imposing medieval chapel of Santa Àgata. From 1882, a series of museum installations were created in the Ciutadella park until the foundation, in 1915, of the Museum of Art and the Museum of Archeology in the old arsenal of the Citadel (current Parliament of Catalonia).

In 1932, the newly re-established Catalonian Republican Generalitate founded the Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya in a Renaissance-inspired pavilion, the Palau d’Arts Gràfiques. The building was inspired by the 1929 Universal Exposition, held in Barcelona that year and so providing an opportunity to test new architectural styles.

After the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939 and dictator Francisco Franco assumed control of Spain and Catalonia, the museum’s management was handed to the Province or Diputació de Barcelona. Franco’s dictatorship saw Catalan identity and nationalism violently squashed. The Diputació transferred the museum to the Generalitate de Catalunya, where it became part of the Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya.

Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya today

The museum remains housed in the Palau d’Arts Gràfiques in its original structure into five chronological spaces: prehistoric, protohistory, the Greek and Phoenician colonisations, the Roman Empire, and the Visigoths (medieval and modern). It is currently undergoing renovations to both reassert its original appearance and adapt to the demands of a modern museum.

Permanent exhibitions house over 50,000 archaeological objects from over 700 sites, alongside temporary exhibits such as ‘The Iberian Enigma’ and virtual exhibitions including ‘The Prodigious Decade’ for online access from afar!

Getting to the Museu Arqueologic de Catalunya

The museum does not have a car park, but there is free parking for bicycles, motorbikes and disabled visitors. Nearby car parks include França Xica, Av. Reina M. Cristina, 16.

To visit the museum via public transport, take the L1 and L3 lines on the Metro, or one of the following buses: the 55, 121 and Montjuic Park Line or a red route tourist bus (Olympic Ring or MNAC). If using bicing, use the 34 route or i236. On foot from the Avinguda Parallel, go up Carrer Lleida to the end and turn left.