Not surprisingly, archeological finds from under modern-day Barcelona fill the Barcelona History Museum — aka The Museum of the History of Barcelona or, in Catalan, Museu d’Història de Barcelona. (Click here for English website.)
A visit to the Barcelona History Museum begins with an introductory film. What’s particularly cool about the film is that the audio does not play through loudspeakers for all to hear. Instead, it plays the available audio guide.
The advantage is that the audio plays in your own language. Consequently, you don’t have to read subtitles or listen while a translator repeats what’s said in variety of languages. Better yet, the museum lends the audio guide at no cost other than the museum entry fee.
The film depicts the history of Barcelona through to modern times. Although, I’m not sure if “history” is an accurate description of the full scope of the film. It includes evidence of settlements that existed before any written history about Barcelona that’s still available today—it’s been more than 2,000 years since the founding of Barcelona. Needless to say, the documentary condensed that time somewhat.
Artifacts on display at the Barcelona History Museum date from prehistoric time, through to its time as Roman colony, medieval town and then Renaissance city. Unlike the film, which continues up to recent history, most of the artifacts date from no later than the Renaissance period. The displays include many old wall fragments, busts (just to be clear, I mean sculptures of people’s head, shoulders and chests, not living women’s breasts, but you likely guessed that) and pottery.
Excavated Artifacts at the Barcelona History Museum
The architectural excavation exhibits encompass rooms that were once a laundry, a fish processor and a winery, with multiple rooms in each establishment. If you’re looking for complete ancient rooms, the museum will disappoint you. Only the lower few feet of each room are on display, not the full height of the rooms.
The path through the displays is on a walkway made of grating and, in some parts, glass. No doubt, the glass is engineered to be strong enough to support the largest crowds that can walk across it simultaneously. And the glass is close enough to the lower floor that a fall likely wouldn’t kill you even if the glass broke. Nevertheless, be warned that if walking on glass floors makes you nervous, you might be a bit uncomfortable in the museum. I speak from experience.
The audio guide provided by the Barcelona History Museum describes wine consumption in Roman times, wine’s use in rituals and its importance in Roman society. Hmm. Wine. What time is it? The sun is over the yardarm as I write this. Just saying.
Moving past the Roman-era exhibits I continued on to displays of early-Christian excavated artifacts, including rooms of religious buildings. Next came an exhibit of artifacts from the Dark Ages.
The museum also has space for temporary exhibits. So, if you go, you might see some displays that I didn’t see. If so, please let me and the one or two other unfortunate people who stumble on these pages know about your visit in the comments below.