The main floor of the Museum is devoted to the permanent collection Feel our heritage. It is an open space designed to allow for a variety of readings and interpretations, which can lead to new reflections on the materials on display in each visit or activity. The wall is a 20-metre frieze featuring a collage of pieces that show visitors the richness and diversity of our society. The central space is home to six large objects that give name to different themed areas that are part of all cultures and lead us to reflect on how we’ve changed over the years. The relationship between the public and our heritage isn't limited to contemplation but also has a tactile dimension, allowing visitors to handle some objects in order to extract deeper knowledge from the experience.
The centre of the hall is occupied by six semi-hexagonal areas, each of which is presided over by a large-scale object. This main piece is accompanied by other complementary ones.
Some of these pieces are not Catalan in origin. This comparative exercise leads us to reflect on the individuality and universality of human culture and shows how different societies, with no apparent connections, can come to similar solutions when faced with the same challenges of daily life.
The whole, rounded out with texts, audiovisual pieces and multimedia contents, evokes an open theme that may suggest a geographical context, a trade or any other theme that can lead to anthropological reflections depending on the pedagogical activity in question or the visitor’s interests.
This section of the exhibit includes literary fragments to accompany this evocation process and incorporates artworks as another source of knowledge.
The six spaces are each named after the large-scale object they house.
- The boat
- The winepress
- The shepherd’s cabin
- The loom
- The blacksmith’s bellows
- The herbalist’s cabinet
The display cases have been preserved along the walls next to the windows, with small objects grouped by theme, complementing the six main spaces. The materials displayed here are changed periodically.
One whole side of the room is made up of a large frieze of objects, a collage that includes items from different places, times and themes that visitors will easily recognise. Together they show the wide variety of fields that can be considered part of ethnology and the plurality of our own society, with objects originally from other places that have been assimilated here. The different materials invite visitors to reflect on specific aspects, whether the symbolic meaning of the objects, their practical everyday use or the different areas of human life they evoke.
Experience the heritage
The need to experiment with materials to reach a deeper understanding is addressed in the reserve space, where pieces are not only observed but also handled or used. They are teaching materials acquired specifically for this use, increasing the Museum’s accessibility and making the heritage available to visitors with visual disabilities.
The internal courtyards
The two internal courtyards open onto the first and second floors. These spaces are home to unique, large-scale pieces that unite three key elements of the concept for the new museum. Firstly, popular, traditional culture in the Catalan sphere of influence. Secondly, it shows the contemporary and artistic side of culture. And, finally, the space also aims to reflect the role of the pioneers of ethnology and their contribution to the museum.
The first courtyard is devoted to a synthesis of traditional cultures: three fallas, from the Valencian workshop of Latorre Sanz, representing folklorists Joan Amades and Ramón Violant, who were key contributors to Catalan ethnology, and a third one of a siurell, a typical ceramic piece in Mallorca. They thus represent the three Catalan territories through three different elements: tangible heritage, trades and techniques associated with festivities and the people who began preserving and documenting these traditions.
The other courtyard is home to two of the giants of the city of Barcelona, Queen Violant and King Jaume I, made by Domènech Umbert in 1984 and restored for the occasion. Their great height means they can be viewed from both floors and the view from the upper floor gives visitors a one-of-a-kind perspective, bringing them face to face with the two figures.