Founded in 1977 by the International Council of Museums, International Museum Day is a special day dedicated to promoting access to museums and raising awareness of the important role played by museums. In Barcelona, a number of the city’s best museums participate, offering free access and events to visitors. Here’s what you should know about International Museum Day in Barcelona.
Like every other city participating in International Museum Day, May 18th is when events take place in Barcelona. You’ll find a program of exciting events, including talks and workshops, at some of the city’s most popular museums.
Remarkably, the day after International Museum Day is when Barcelona’s museums participate in the Night of the Museums. This is when the city’s museums stay open late into the night allowing visitors to experience the museum in a different light.
The Catalan capital is not short of cultural institutions: there are museums dedicated to design, history, art, music, archaeology and even cannabis. In 2018, over 80 museums participated in the International Day of the Museum and the Night of the Museums.
If you’re intending to visit more than one museum in the day, be sure to check out travel distances and times as some of the museums are located at opposite sides of the city. There are a number of museums located on or near Montjuïc – the Miró Foundation, Olympic Museum, MNAC and CaixaForum – which make this a good area to explore.
You’ll also need to factor in the fact that the queues may be much longer than usual at the most popular museums such as the Picasso Museum or MACBA. Even though entrance is free, many museums will still issue tickets or count entrance numbers for security reasons, so you’ll still have to queue to get in.
International Museum Day is actually a great chance to explore some of Barcelona’s less coveted museums such as the Maritime Museum or the Olympic and Sports Museum. Specially organised talks and workshops make for the perfect introduction to quirkier or niche subjects.
Barcelona’s biggest and most popular museums all participate in International Museum Day. These do tend to be the busiest venues though so unless there’s a particular event you’re interested in, you might want to consider visiting another day.
If some museums only grant free access to the main collections, other museums also offer free entrance to temporary exhibitions. The CCCB –the Contemporary Culture Centre of Barcelona – and the CaixaForum are two such museums.
If Barcelona is home to some pretty impressive museums, there are other institutions worth visiting nearby too. The Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres is a unique tribute to the life and work of the surrealist artists Salvador Dalí. Closer by, the Museum of Science and Technique in Terrassa retraces Barcelona’s industrial history.
While access to the museum and most events will be free of charge, do consider leaving a donation when you leave. Part of the International Museum Day’s mission is to raise awareness of the importance of museums and you can show your gratitude by leaving a few euros.