Francisco Álvarez-Ossorio y Farfán de los Godos

Director from 29 July 1930 to 11 September 1939

Francisco Álvarez-Ossorio

 

Francisco Álvarez-Ossorio y Farfán de los Godos (Madrid, 31 May 1868 – 16 June 1953) studied at the Spanish School of Diplomatics and entered the Specialist Corps of Archivists, Librarians and Archaeologists in March 1886. He had a long career in administrative posts at the National Archaeological Museum before being appointed director in 1930.

The year he became director five new curators, all under the age of 30, joined the museum: Emilio Camps Cazorla, Felipa Niño Más, Felipe Mateu y Llopis, Luis Vázquez de Parga and Joaquín María de Navascués.
New pieces continued to arrive and the museum still participated in exhibitions and other events, but this was fundamentally a time of renewal and change. The International Museums Conference held in Madrid (1934) by the International Office of Museums, a United Nations agency, represented a milestone in museology. The new criteria established also affected the National Archaeological Museum, leading to two key developments regarding its internal organisation: the creation of the Board of Trustees (Decree of 10 July 1931) and the designation of the museum director as the chief inspector of provincial archaeological museums (Order of 22 November 1932).

The Royal Order of 25 February 1931 aimed to give a “revitalising boost to the National Archaeological Museum” and several improvements were made to the building with the active involvement of the curators, Board of Trustees and the architect curator of the Palace of the National Library and Museums, Luis Moya Blanco. However, with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 all works were halted and the museum was taken over by the Delegate Board of Confiscation, Protection and Rescue of Art Treasures. The museum closed and all the pieces on display, plus those that were brought in for protection, were packed up.

Due to this situation, in February 1937 Álvarez-Ossorio was forced to retire and was replaced by a number of directors and acting directors until his reinstatement on 9 September 1939. However, two days later he resigned from his post, having reached retirement age.