The National Archaeological Museum was founded in 1867 by Queen Isabel II, who was deposed in the Glorious Revolution only one year later in 1868. The collection at the museum includes artifacts from Spain and beyond. The purpose of the museum was to display different ethnographical, archaeological and decorative art collections compiled by the Spanish monarchs in one place. The museum’s collection contains religious art, as many exhibits were removed from monasteries and churches and placed in the museum. Other important exhibits at the museum include a replica of prehistoric cave paintings discovered in Cantabria, Spain, and ‘La dama de Elche‘, or ‘The Lady of Elx’ – a large sculpture of a wealthy Iberian woman wearing traditional Spanish headgear, dating back to the 5th century BCE.
The National Archaeological Museum was renovated and closed between 2008 and 2014, and it was re-opened to the public in April 2014. There is no admission fee to enter the museum, and the collection covers, among others, Celtic, Iberian, Greek, prehistoric, Roman, Egyptian and medieval objects. The museum is open daily from Tuesday to Saturday between 9:30 and 20:00 and on Sundays and holidays between 9:30 and 15:00. The museum is closed on Mondays. More information is displayed on the museum’s website.