National Museum of Science and Technology, Terrassa, Spain
The origin of the museum
The creation of today’s National Museum of Science and Technology was an old Catalan ambition. The Association of Engineers, which drove the project forward from 1976, had already tried to set up a museum at the end of the 19th century.
The Generalitat Republicana signed an order to set up a museum that would make Catalonia’s industrialisation well known.
The Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship of General Franco frustrated the project, and it stayed forgotten until the 1970s. During this time, the Catalan Association of Industrial Engineers again took up the initiative to found a museum of science and technology and in 1979 it established the Association of the Museum of Science and Technology and of Industrial Archaeology of Catalonia, with the intention of unite the forces to create a new Museum and to preserve the industrial heritage.
In 1982, the Culture Department of the Generalitat took over the project and in 1983 it bought the Aymerich, Amat i Jover mill, an old woollen factory in Terrassa, with the aim of turning it into the home of the museum.
According to the Museum Law of 2 November 1990, it was declared a National Museum and was established as an independent institution.
The museum’s aims
The general objective of the mNACTEC is to develop the knowledge of the history of science, technology and the process of industrialisation of Catalonia, as well as of the productive processes.
In order to achieve these aims, the museum set itself the following specific goals:
- Acquire, conserve and restore the scientific and technical heritage of the past and present, both objects, tools and machines as well as the built heritage.
- Encourage the study of the history of science and technology and of industrialisation.
- Make scientific and technical knowledge and progress widely available to society.
- Constitute the mNACTEC as the centre of activities related to the industrial heritage.
- Establish it as a place in which society, industry, the scientific community and especially the Universities can come together.
An unique building
The building that houses the Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya, the Aymerich, Amat and Jover mill, is the finest example of Art Nouveau industrial architecture in the country. Designed by the architect Lluís Muncunill i Parellada (Sant Vicenç de Fals, 1868 – Terrassa, 1931), work began on building the factory in the Rambla d’Ègara in 1907 and it was opened barely a year later.
The mill, (known in Catalan as a Vapor or Steam after the steam engine used to drive it), contained all the industrial processes to transform wool, from the moment when the raw wool entered the building to when it left as finished cloth.
The Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya has 22.200 m2 of surface area, of which 11.000 m2 correspond to the original rectangular plan shed of the Aymerich, Amat and Jover mill. This great room, in which the permanent exhibitions Power, The Textile Mill, Homo Faber and Transport can be found today, is covered by a special saw-tooth roof. The usual straight forms of these roofs was reinterpreted by the architect Muncunill into 161 bell-shaped Catalan vaults, supported on 300 cast-iron columns. These also function as rainwater pipes and support for the line shafting, the apparatus that transmitted the force from the steam engine to each of the machines in the factory.
[This information is copied from the museums homepage]