AS the new school year gets going we take a look at 10 of the most interesting museums that one should try to visit in Spain, either with or without children.
1. National Archaeology Museum, Madrid
Located in the palace of National Libraries and Museums in Madrid, this enormous 19th century building contains 40 halls covering the culture and origins of the various regions of Spain. More than one million pieces from different periods are on display, giving an idea of the evolution of Spanish society. Collections include archaeological material from prehistoric, Roman Hispania, the Middle Ages, the Near East, Modern Times and other civilisations including the Egyptian and Greek.
2. National Natural Sciences Museum, Madrid
Located at the old palace of Industry and Arts on Paseo de la Castellana, the museum is one of the country’s most important scientific investigation institutes. Founded in 1771, when Carlos III created the Royal Cabinet of Natural History, it covers themes including geology, paleo-biology, ecology and climatic change.
3. General Archive of the Indias, Sevilla
Declared World Heritage by the UNESCO in 1987, this museum houses the largest archive on Spanish colonisation. Located at the Casa Lonja in Sevilla, the archive displays more than 80,000 pages of documents and 8,000 drawings and maps related to old Spanish colonies across the world.
4. Lope de Vega Museum, Madrid
The home of one of the most important playwrights and poets of the Spanish Golden Age, Lope de Vega, is located at No 11, Calle Cervantes in Madrid. It currently belongs to the Royal Spanish Academy and has the appearance of a typical 17th century Spanish home. Rooms including the poet’s study and bedroom plus the interior garden mentioned in various of his works can be visited and original belongings loaned by his family are on display.
5. Cervantes Museum, Alcala de Henares
The house where Miguel de Cervantes, one of Spain’s most famous writers, was born and lived now contained a museum which gives glimpses of what life was like in the 16th and 17th centuries and holds collections of his works in various languages.
6. Jurassic Museum, Asturias
One of the best dinosaur museums in Spain, this jewel located 155 metres above sea level on the Cantabrian coast shows the evolution of the planet from when dinosaurs appeared until they became extinct and includes tours of the ‘dinosaur coast’ where footprints and skeletal remains can be seen.
7. Alhambra Museum, Granada
This museum, on the ground floor of the Palace of Carlos V, documents the history of the Alhambra from when the Catholic Kings took possession and displays pieces from the period and a collection of Hispanic-Moorish art.
8. Principe Felipe Science Museum, Valencia
Part of Valencia’s Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, this interactive museum’s motto is: ‘Not touching, not feeling and not thinking are banned.’ Displays invite visitors to discover various aspects of science, technology and the environment first-hand. One of its popular attractions is its Fourcault pendulum, one of the longest in the world.
9. MARQ, Alicante
Declared European Museum of the Year in 2004, the Alicante Provincial Archaeological Museum covers periods ranging from the prehistoric through the Roman empire and Middle Ages up to contemporary times. Its collections are complemented by nearby archaeological sites including the Santuario del Pla, Petracos, the Tossal, Manises and La Illeta dels Banyets.
10. Centre Pompidou, Malaga
Known as one of the major art museums of Europe, the Pompidou Centre now has an impressive outpost in Malaga, housed under a cube of multi-coloured glass, which aims to show the public some of the most original and creative collections of all times.