Museum of Natural History Museu de Ciències Naturals
Museum of Natural History Highlights
The Museu de Zoologia stands at the western end of the Parc de la Ciutadella. This somewhat unique building in a pseudo-Moorish mixture of styles was erected by Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a gastronomic concern for the 1888 World Exhibition, and is popularly known as the "castell dels tres dragons" ("Three Dragons Castle").Temporary exhibitions are held on the ground floor, where there is also a comprehensive insect collection and skeletons of a whale and a mammoth. Other glass cabinets contain mussels and snails as well as stuffed birds. A staircase with an attractive stairwell leads to the upper floor, which houses the major part of the permanent exhibitions. These include a collection of birds' eggs, stuffed mammals (with corresponding skeletons by the side), and preserved molluscs, fish, reptiles and amphibians. At the end of the large main hall, behind a glass door, can be seen a conchological study-collection (mussel and snail shells).All the collections are used for research and teaching purposes. Although its layout is extremely antiquated the museum is spotlessly clean and orderly and possesses considerable nostalgic charm. It is currently being extended.
The museums in the Parc de la Ciutadella include the Museu de Geologia. It is linked with the Institute of Natural Sciences. Opened in 1882, it is housed in a low Neo-Classical building which was built for the 1888 World Exhibition, and is the first museum building in Barcelona which was intended to be used as such from the outset.The entrance is in the gabled centralsection of the side facing the park. In the rooms to the left of the entrance hall can be seen minerals, mainly precious and semi-precious stones (including copies in rock-crystal of the largest known diamonds) as well as exhibits showing the technical applications of precious and non-ferrous metals. Basically, the minerals are arranged according to their chemical structure. At the end of the hall, distinguishable by the light shining through the agate panes, is a darkened room with minerals bathed in long and short-wave ultra-violet light, producing interesting luminous effects. The room to the right of the hallway contains mainly fossils.