Spain’s museums celebrate education and research on International Museum Day 2024

by Lorraine Williamson
International Museum Day

The Ministry of Culture’s state museums are set to celebrate International Museum Day and European Museum Night with a series of special events and activities under the theme “Museums for Education and Research”. This annual celebration, recognised globally and established by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in 1977, aims to highlight the pivotal role museums play in education and the dissemination of knowledge.

Entry to all 16 state museums managed by the Ministry of Culture will be free of charge today. Throughout the week, a diverse range of activities are scheduled to cater to all ages and interests, including workshops for adults, youth, and children, musical performances, guided tours, interactive entertainment, conferences, and film screenings.

The overarching goal for this year is to emphasise the educational role of museums, fostering critical thinking and the exploration of new ideas. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to explore museum storerooms, participate in night tours, and gain insights into various fields such as museology, photography, archaeology, and textile techniques.

Highlighted exhibitions

Several newly opened temporary exhibitions will also be featured as part of the celebrations:

  • “Convivium: Archaeology of the Mediterranean Diet” at the National Archaeological Museum, Madrid.
  • “Chupas y Parkas. Rockers and Mods from Brighton 1964” at the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Madrid.
  • “Travelling to Paint. Sorolla and Painted Sculpture” at the National Sculpture Museum, Valladolid.

For a complete list of events and activities, visitors are encouraged to consult the state museums’ website.

European museum night: Evening adventures

Coinciding with International Museum Day, the 20th European Museum Night will see eleven state museums opening their doors for free evening access. Among the evening highlights:

  • National Museum of Underwater Archaeology ARQVA, Cartagena: A collaborative mural where visitors can leave their mark.
  • National Sculpture Museum, Valladolid: Evening concerts featuring jazz, swing, and gypsy music by Manusser.
  • National Museum and Research Centre of Altamira, Santillana del Mar: “Altamira in its Original Light” activity, requiring advance booking.
  • National Museum of Roman Art, Mérida: Historical recreations offering deep insights into Ancient Roman life.
  • National Museum of Ceramics and Sumptuary Arts ‘González Martí’, Valencia: Dramatised nocturnal visits.

In Madrid, several museums including the National Museum of Anthropology, the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the Cerralbo Museum, the Sorolla Museum, and the Garment Museum will provide nighttime access with unique experiences. Additionally, the Casa Cervantes Museum in Valladolid and the Sephardic Museum and El Greco Museum in Toledo will be participating with their own special offerings.

Details on opening times and specific activities can be found here.

Virtual tours

For those unable to attend, the Ministry of Culture has launched new virtual tours for all 16 state museums. Featuring over 46,000 high-resolution photographs, these tours offer 360º panoramic views, annotated videos, scientific articles, sound documents, and detailed information on historical contexts and notable figures, providing an in-depth digital museum experience.

Virtual visitors can access these tours from the official website.

Participating state museums

The 16 state museums under the direct management of the Ministry of Culture are:

  • Cartagena (Murcia): National Museum of Underwater Archaeology. ARQVA
  • Madrid: National Archaeological Museum, The Garment Museum, Sorolla Museum, Cerralbo Museum, National Museum of Decorative Arts, National Museum of Romanticism, Museum of America, National Museum of Anthropology
  • Mérida (Extremadura): National Museum of Roman Art
  • Santillana del Mar (Cantabria): Altamira National Museum and Research Centre
  • Toledo (Castilla-La Mancha): El Greco Museum, Sephardic Museum
  • Valencia: National Museum of Ceramics and Sumptuary Arts ‘González Martí’
  • Valladolid (Castilla y León): National Sculpture Museum, Casa Cervantes Museum

For further information, visit the official state museums’ website.

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