Juan Catalina García López

Director from 9 August 1900 to 18 January 1911
 

Juan Catalina García López

Juan Catalina García López (Salmerón, Guadalajara, 24 November 1845 – Madrid, 18 January 1911) was, among his many occupations and titles, a historian and archaeologist. A graduate in Law and Philosophy & Letters from the Central University, in 1895 he obtained the Archaeology and Museum Organisation chair at the Spanish School of Diplomatics and entered the Specialist Corps of Archivists, Librarians and Archaeologists, subsequently rising to the position of head of the corps.

After the School of Diplomatics was dissolved in 1900, he occupied the Archaeology and Epigraphy and Numismatics chairs at the Central University and was appointed director of the National Archaeological Museum.

His mandate saw the beginning of a series of new works and installations which, despite the recent inauguration of the premises in 1895, Amador de los Ríos had called for in an article for La España Moderna (1903). The galleries were enlarged, several installations were dismantled to accommodate the portal from San Pedro de Arlanza, the columns and ceilings in the India and Persia gallery were removed, and in 1908 the Ethnography section was re-organised yet again to host a commemorative exhibition dedicated to the uprising of 2 May 1808. Furthermore, the space formerly occupied by the Post-Columbian collections was taken over by the National Historical Archive.

In spite of this relative turbulence, the museum took part in several temporary exhibitions both in Spain and abroad, including the one dedicated to the Order of the Golden Fleece in Bruges (1907), the Muslim art exhibition in Munich (1910), and the shows organised by the Friends of Art Society at the National Library, such as the Cervantes exhibition in 1905 and the one on Spanish pottery in 1910.

The museum also continued to acquire new collections through government purchases, bequests and long-term loans. The dissolution of institutions such as the Overseas Ministry, the Spanish School of Diplomatics and the School of Industries in Toledo resulted in a new influx of objects to the museum, as did important acquisitions such as the multi-faceted collection of Manuel Rico y Sinobas. In addition to these developments related to the collections, Francisco Álvarez-Ossorio’s Una visita al Museo Arqueológico Nacional (1910) was released to publicise the merits of the museum and its treasures.