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Museografía antigua del Museo de Artes Industriales

The National Museum of Industrial Arts

Let's travel back 100 years to discover what the Museum was like at the beginning of the 20th century. In this first stage, the so-called National Museum of Industrial Arts was located in the heart of Madrid de los Austrias, in a space on Calle Sacramento. In the early 1930s, due to a lack of space, it moved to the 19th-century mansion where we can still be found today. Who worked here? Who visited the Museum? Let’s look back to see whether we have changed a lot or whether we’re still the same as we were.

In the merciless competition between European countries to conquer consumer markets, Spain carved out a niche for itself with artistic and hand-crafted products of high and medium quality. Developing this market became the goal of a group of intellectual activists who also aimed to establish solid technical training. They reformed the teaching methods used at technical schools and colleges, organised exhibitions, published magazines and set up the museum in 1912.

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Repostero de Muñoz Dueñas

Education to promote the industrial arts

'Neither theory without practice, nor practice without theory'. The Museum was, first and foremost, a place to learn. Its collections, library and workshops were dedicated to promoting the artistic and technical culture of the industrial arts. The theoretical and the hands-on, the beautiful and the useful, combined to educate the human spirit and to modernise craft and industrial production. As a result, the living conditions of citizens were expected to improve and the wealth of the country to increase. This educational mission had its origins in the South-Kensington Museum (London), now the Victoria & Albert Museum. The museum was one piece of a vast, glittering pedagogical programme that sought national reform through education. It was conceived and promoted by the Institución Libre de Enseñanza (Free Institution of Education) and other public and private organisations committed to progress.

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Personal del museo en sus orígenes

Work at the Museum

The Museum’s staff consisted of a director, Rafael Domènech, a curator, Luis Pérez Bueno, a restorer, a librarian and auxiliary staff. They brought together representative collections of Hispanic and European artistic and industrial techniques, and classified, studied and disseminated them. They organised an innovative department dedicated to the 'pedagogy of the industrial arts', which offered workshops, courses and lectures. They also organised what were called 'technical series': sequences of procedures for making translucent enamels, embroidery, batik, tarso (polychrome decoration of wood) and carving. They also put together mobile exhibitions, called 'travelling' exhibitions. Famous specialists helped with these activities. Francisco Pérez-Dolz, professor at the School of Arts and Crafts, painter and specialist in weaving, helped teach the batik technique. Gregorio Muñoz Dueñas, director of the Manises and La Moncloa ceramic schools, made drawings for the decorative series.