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History of the Museum

The National Archaeological Museum was founded in 1867 by Queen Isabella II, following the European trend of creating great national museums to exhibit the evidence of each nation’s past. Its founding satisfied the demand for a major institution where the collections of historical artefacts scattered among various establishments could be brought together under one roof with the aim of documenting the entire history of Spain, from its beginnings to the present day, and offering an overview of ancient civilisations from around the world.

The idea took hold thanks to the advances being made in archaeology at the time and to a growing awareness of the incalculably valuable cultural heritage which, as a result of invasions, wars and government confiscations, was at risk of disappearing and required protection.

The new museum’s mission was to collect, preserve and study these assets and make them available to the general public for their edification and instruction. Salto de línea

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