The origins of the Natural Science Museum can be tied to the inauguration of Martorell Museum in 1882, at that time the city’s premier museum for zoology, botanics and geology. The museum was opened following the death of local antiquarian and naturalist, Francesc Martorell i Peña, who upon his death bequeathed his personal collection to the city of Barcelona, hence founding the first public museum in Catalunya. The creation of the museum was incorporated into a wider project to make the central Parc de la Ciutadella a space dedicated to the natural sciences which, all together, would compose the Martorell Museum, the Zoo, the Zootechnical Museum, the Greenhouse and Shadehouse. Eventually, in 1935 the botanical department of the museum relocated and formed the Botanical Garden of Barcelona and the Historical Botanic Garden, both situated on Montjuïc Hill. By this time, the museum group formed the most important museum of natural sciences in Catalunya.
A significant moment in the history of the museum came in 2010, when plans were made to relocate the main collections of the Museu Martorell to one of the main buildings of the Parc del Fòrum. This space, now known as the ‘Museu Blau‘ or ‘Blue Museum’, is 9,000 square meters in size, spread over two floors, and holds a capacity of 3,200 visitors. The main exhibition of the museum is centred on James Lovelock‘s Gaia theory, according to which, the earth is a self-regulating system. In 2011 an agreement was signed with the aim of converting the Natural Sciences museum into a national museum.
Today, the main sites of the museum are:
– The Martorell Museum: dedicated to the history of the natural sciences and a reflection on the city’s relationship to them.
– The Blau Museum: dedicated to geology and biology, it contains the largest collection of fossils and skeletons.
– The Botanical Gardens of Montjuïc: dedicated to the study and preservation of botanical species of the Mediterranean.
– The Natural Laboratory: dedicated to research and development in the natural sciences.
📅 For the opening hours of each museum, click on the name:
Museu Blau, the Botanical Gardens, the Martorell Museum (currently closed to the public except the library), the Natural Laboratory (currently closed to the public except the library).