I’ll admit that as a schoolkid you’d have had to drag me kicking and screaming to something like the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia. These days I go “oooh, I’m learning something!”
Do you know what a pontil is? I didn’t until today.
What you get here is a collection that spans Catalan history from pre-history up until around the 19thCentury. There are some highlights depending on your interests. Phoenecian and Greek ceramics do it for me. But whatever floats your boat about Mediterranean antiquity, you’re likely to find it here.
Some of it is also what sinks your boat. A beautifully-curated exhibition, “Shipwrecks: Submerged History” was a highlight when I visited in May 2023. It’s supposed to be a temporary exhibition, but I can’t find an end-date advertised.
The collection is housed in a building erected for the 1929 International Exposition. It is in a slightly out-of-the-way location near the foot of Montjuïc. But this makes it an excellent place to stop if you’re heading to any of the other attractions in the area.
(CaixaForum, Fundació Joan Miró, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the Mies van der Rohe pavilion, the Jardí Botànic de Barcelona, the Jardins de Joan Maragall, and the Jardí Botànic Històric are all in the vicinity.)
Some exhibits are very close to home. Some Roman artifacts were carved from Montjuïc sandstone, quarried from what is now the Historic Botanic gardens.
This is a great museum for anyone interested in the human history of Catalonia. If you like having a museum to yourself this is a good option, though I can’t guarantee you won’t encounter a school group. Potentially kicking and screaming. Still, the staff seemed pretty excited to see us.
Ticket prices include entry to a range of archaeological sites around Catalonia, if you’re planning any trips to the countryside and want to see more.