Mirror and portal of Barcelona
The Barcelona History Museum (Barcelona History Museum or MUHBA) is responsible for conserving and documenting the collections and the architecture of the city that have been entrusted to the institution. The Museum also works to spread knowledge about the city’s history, from its origins to the present day – from the Roman colony of Barcino and its walls to the age of the revolution of medieval commerce and the great Gothic buildings; from the testimonies of the industrial revolution to Cerdà’s Eixample district and the works of Modernisme and Gaudí, and from the turbulent, creative Barcelona of the early 20th century to the city of the Olympic Games.
The Museum officially opened on 14 April 1943, thanks to the efforts of Agustí Duran i Sanpere, who became its first director. It belongs to the Barcelona City Council, as part of the Institut de Cultura (ICUB, Culture Institute) and features several researched display spaces, located at different points in the city. The Museum's original headquarters is the monumental site of Plaça del Rei, which extends from Casa Padellàs to Palau Reial Major, and has an archaeological subsoil of the ancient and early mediaeval city.
The Museum is understood to be a mirror of Barcelona and aims to reflect the changes and continuities that have shaped the city's urban life over the course of the past 2,000 years. It encourages a more detailed understanding of its historic and artistic heritage. This work is carried out through a programme organised into multiple formats: visits and tours of museum spaces, city routes and walks, exhibitions, lectures, debates and concerts, one-day conferences and seminars, books, historical guides, new digital formats and heritage products.
The Museum has thus become a portal to help people learn about and appreciate Barcelona, a European metropolis and national capital of Catalonia. It has been designed for Barcelona residents and tourists, and focuses not only on the heritage spaces with which the institution has been entrusted, but also on the city as a whole and its history and progress in relation to other world capitals.
To help develop its activities, the Museum promotes research, innovation and training relating to history and Barcelona’s wide-ranging heritage – from its archaeological and architectural heritage to its cuisine, literature and music. The Museum has become an R&D+i centre for the purpose of cultural revitalization and economic innovation, founded on a strong framework of links with academic centres, cultural institutions, citizens’ organisations and other city museums and research centres in Europe.