Back to the past
A multidisciplinary museum which contains the Gallart art gallery and chemist. There is also a general information archive and a courtyard used for public events.
The museum, which is found in the historical centre of Calella, conserves, investigates and informs on differing aspects of the towns heritage. The museum is located in an original 17th century mansion, connected by a large courtyard to the archive sited on the 9th floor of a building on Bartrina street. The museum occupies a total of 1.145 m2.
The museum’s history
The museum was founded in June 1959 through the initiative of a group of citizens who were interested in the heritage and history of the town. In 1961 a small warehouse was added and a series of regulations established but the lack of institutional support impeded its further development. In 1978 the partial renovation of the ground floor where the museum is located began, and by December of the following year the first two auditoriums were opened to the public. The building is a large 17th century mansion with 3 floors, impressive façade, arched door, original windows and stone parapet. At the top can be seen the remains of a barbican.
Since 1979 the growth of the museum and its collections, both in quality and quantity, has been constant, due to the help of the general public and this collaboration has become fundamental and a driving force in the running and conservation of the towns heritage. In 1982 the town hall granted the museum the rights as a legal entity and created the Municipal Museum Archive foundation of Calella. Subsequently the Museum friends association was formed to channel the collaboration of the general public. The museum has an important amount of historical documentation dating back to the 11th century and receives constantly new additions from municipal departments, other institutions and inhabitants of Calella.
The collection is made up of articles related to science and the arts, with a great number of pieces from the textile and and knitwear industry. There are also elements of decorative arts and archeological finds, which have come mainly from the remains of the roman village in Calella.
The total number of objects at the moment is over 15,000. The collection can be seen by the general public in 3 auditoriums of the main building where there is over 500 m2 on show.
There is a permanent exhibition on the history of Calella and the province of Maresme, containing a wide variety of different elements: minerals, fossils, archeological pieces, tiles, ceramics, textile machinery, examples of knitwear and cloth, traditional tools, documents, clothes, costumes, embroidery…Also there is the Gallart art gallery, a chemist dating back to the beginning of the 20th century and the reproduction of an old kitchen. Items not on display are stored in a warehouse in the new building.
The museum is staffed by voluntary workers and has been classed as a foundation since 1982. It is managed by trustees and a board of directors.
The Friends of the museum association lends vital and welcome support.
Collections and contents
On the ground floor to the right of the entrance door there is a multidisciplinary room, of interest mainly to schools, where displayed we can find minerals, fossils and archeological remains which have been found in Calella. There are water bowls (some of which were locally made), ointments, a roman lead anchor, a windmill stone and a collection of cloths from the beginning of the textile industry in Calella. To one side is a small room with a display of ceramics and tiles from the 18th to 20th centuries.
The history of the textile industry
To the left of the entrance there are 2 rooms displaying textile machinery and examples of knitwear, an activity for which Calella was renown between 1767 (when the first loom arrived) and the Civil war. The region was best known for the making of silk and cotton stockings.
Visitors can also pass into a room which is dedicated to the traditional local trades and their work tools, grouped into different sections and within glass display cabinets, all with their corresponding information panels.
The next room contains documentation on the trade between Calella and the spanish colonies around the world. These trade links were very important from the last third of the 18th century until the loss of the colonies, and went hand in hand with the industry of ship building. From 1854 the inhabitants of Calella built many large ships and fishing boats.
The Gallart art gallery
The 1st floor of the musesum is dedicated wholly to the Gallart art gallery and contains more than 200 works, which are displayed on a changing basis. The collection is mainly oils and a variety of technical drawings, the work of the local artist Lluís Gallart i Garcia. The gallery is run and managed by its own institution.
A modernistic chemist
On the second floor has been installled the local chemist, of modernistic style, but with all the original antique elements. Please note the white and gold furniture, floral decoration and arched windows where are displayed the original medicine jars and laboratory material.
From the chemist we can pass into two rooms with the newest museum displays; they contain a reproduction of an old kitchen with all its utensils, ceramics and iron tools.
On the walls hang a collection of kitchen weights and measuring instruments to complete the display.
The next room is dedicated to an exhibition of dresses, cloths, embroidery, lacework and tablecloths produced by the locals that attained a measure of regional fame from the 18th century. Most of the women living in Calella worked in this trade.
Normal ticket: 2,00 €
Reduced admission: 1,00 €
Combined ticket Museum / Lighthouse / Shelter: 3,50 €