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The Magnificent Museu Blau

The Museu Blau in the Forum Building in Barcelona, Spain. Image: Juan Bautista Cofreces/123RF
The Museu Blau in the Forum Building in Barcelona, Spain. Image: Juan Bautista Cofreces/123RF

If you have the opportunity to visit Barcelona, I strongly encourage you to set aside a little time and visit the magnificent Museu Blau in the Forum Building.  Once you pass through its doors, you’ll understand why it’s a museum you won’t soon forget.

The Museu Blau (home of the Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona) is encased in a stunning structure designed by Herzog & de Meuron for the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures.

Inside, you’ll find 4,500 items from the Museum’s heritage collection which have all been brought together in a genuinely stunning testament to natural history.  The interior lighting is dimmed, allowing spotlights over the exhibits to ensure that you’re attention is directed at the material rather than the building or other visitors.

Placards serve as understated accompaniments to the material rather than flashy eye-catchers.  All of the focus is brought onto the individual specimens and the effect is a spectacular, distilled approach to curation reminiscent of the 19th century cabinets of curiosity (but with an informed, 21st century twist).

Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museu Blau)
Exhibition space at the Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museu Blau).
Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museu Blau).
Exhibition space at the Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museu Blau).
Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museu Blau).
Exhibition space at the Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museu Blau).
Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museu Blau).
Exhibition space at the Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museu Blau).

There’s something transfixing and admirable about this type of presentation.  Rather than bombard you with graphics, audiovisual displays, or elaborate dioramas, the museum allows the specimens themselves to capture the visitor’s curiosity and allows the viewer’s questions to arise organically.

It’s a methodology that encourages exploration and discovery and ensures that you’ll be captivated throughout your entire journey through the space.  Furthermore, crowds on weekdays seem to be diminished and that fact, coupled with the darkness of the space, means that you’ll be free to enjoy the specimens in a way that makes it feel like you’re in your own personal museum and allows you to concentrate on the specifics of each item.

Again, this is a must-see if you’re in the area and I can’t commend the curators enough for their remarkable vision in terms of presentation and design.  I will definitely be back!  For more information, please check-out the Museum’s website.

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2 thoughts on “The Magnificent Museu Blau Leave a comment

  1. Hi Mark!
    I love this post! Specially your particular vision, focused on the museography and what distinguishes this museum from others like this.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Cristina

    Like

    • Hi Cristina,

      Thanks so much for the feedback! Museography/museology is a topic that I’ve become increasingly more interested in over the years and I hope to write more pieces like this 🙂

      Like

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