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10 Things to Know Before International Museum Night for 2019

The MNAC museum © ptwo
The MNAC museum © ptwo
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.

Put May 18th in your diary now

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.

Watch out for the Night of the Museums the next day

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 MNAC museum at night © Marcus / flickr

There are 113 museums in Barcelona

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.

Plan your route

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.

View from the roof of the Joan Miró Foundation © (vincent desjardins) / flickr

Expect to queue

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.

Search out the lesser-known museums

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.

The Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres © Daniel Thornton / flickr

MACBA, CaixaForum, CCCB and MNAC all participate

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.

Temporary exhibitions are often free too

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.

Exhibit at the Antoni Tàpies Foundation © Christian Wieland / flickr

Consider getting out of town

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.

Consider a donation

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.