“The museum in family”, approaching the new generations

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Cristina Riera

The festive gathering The museum in family is an annual meeting in which the workers of the museum participate with our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc. On a Monday, in the afternoon, with the museum closed, we share the spaces of work and galleries, in a relaxed atmosphere and one of conviviality. This was the fourth edition of the family party.

First of all, we visited different internal spaces of the museum, in which a professional from the museum told us about the area visited. The visits to the Library and the roof terraces were on our own.

In the control centre we saw how the museum security is guaranteed. We experimented to see what happens and how people act when the alarm goes off, and how, via cameras, you can see the different spaces of the building, and to zoom in and out the images to monitor what was going on in the Oval Hall, for example.

Control centre

Control centre

In the internal galleries we discovered how the machines are able to guarantee the climatic conditions within the exhibition rooms, or how to do away with the insects that could infect the works of art. We observed what an air conditioning machine looks like on the inside.

Internal galleries

Internal galleries

One of the spaces which was most surprising was the storage room [vídeo] for the large scale pieces. We saw some of the grids on which there was the mural painting of 1929 of the Palau Nacional transferred to canvas and prepared to be hung, with decoration of children, mermaids, fish and marine topics. We also counted the number of steps needed to roughly measure the length of one of the grids so as to remember if back home we would be able to find a big enough space, and we did a brief maths exercise to calculate how many square metres of screen there were to hang a painting in this space. The children helped to turn the handles of the screens to open them up.

After that, we went along to the numismatics rooms. The youngest learnt to see how medals differ from coins and they were able to experiment with different instruments that are used to handle, study, measure and catalogue the numismatics materials such as a slide gauge or callipers, a magnifying glass, scales and cotton gloves.

Numismatics galleries

Numismatics galleries

Another space visited was the restoration workshop, where we observed close at hand different artworks that are undergoing a process of intervention. We found out how this is carried out and what materials are used. A restorer explained to the smallest ones that the workshop is like a hospital for the works of art and that they also do radiographies or x-rays of the pieces to find out about their state of conservation. By means of a binocular magnifying glass, we were able to contemplate details of a Baroque altarpiece.

In the Library we strolled around the reading room and saw how the books are distributed according to thematic classification.

Straight after that, we visited the Cabinet of Drawing, prints and posters where we were shown how to store the works and what materials are used to ensure their correct conservation. What most caught the attention of the little ones was the explicit poem based on the drawings of Liliana by Apel·les Mestres.

Cabinet of Drawing, prints and posters

Cabinet of Drawing, prints and posters

To finish, we went up to the roof terraces, opened to the public last year. There we enjoyed magnificent views of Barcelona, not yet seen, even, by many Barcelona citizens.

When the visit was over, the 60 people (31 children and 29 adults) who had attended the party, went out onto one of the outside patios where an afternoon snack awaited us. The children were able to play on a large inflatable toy, giant board games, football, basketball, as well as blowing bubbles with soap, and making balloon sculptures. This year as a novelty, a cake-making contest was organised in which five families participated. The cakes, made by the children with the help of a family member, could be tasted by everyone who attended, once the jury of the contest made public the name of the winner.

All in all, it was a highly enriching experience because, on the one hand, the children learnt about the work which is carried out in the different areas of the museum in an enjoyable and amusing way, and they also enjoyed themselves a lot eating their afternoon snack while playing in the open air, and, on the other hand, the workers of the museum had the opportunity of spending a leisurely afternoon together in the company of our families. This initiative, thought up by the museum team, fully fits in with the task of Social Responsibility in which we have been immersed for quite some time.

pastissos2 5-pastissos
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Cristina Riera
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