Lesser Known Madrid Museums
by John Bascombe on Thursday, April 24, 2014
Top 5 Lesser Known Museums in Madrid
When we think of museums in Madrid, the Prado and Reina Sofia are usually the first to come to mind. These are great museums, no doubt, but like any great European capital, Madrid has many more museums available for the visitor to see. If you don’t know what to do in Madrid and are avoiding going to a museum because the idea of large crowds turns you off, we have just the thing you’re looking for. Among the many Madrid attractions available, I am going to propose 5 museums that will surprise you and give you the opportunity to know another side of the Madrid museum scene—and without the crowds.
Museum for the Blind
The Museo Tiflológico is a museum run by the ubiquitous ONCE; a Spanish non-profit and lottery empire that provides support and services to the blind and people with serious visual impairment. All the pieces on display (paintings, sculptures, and models) are displayed with the intention that every visitor can touch them. The museum is split into 3 principal exhibition halls: Braille and its evolution which includes machines and modern devices; models of monuments, both national and international and an exhibition of the works of visually impaired artists. One thing you will find is that this museum has something for everyone and for that reason alone this museum is worth a visit. You can find this museum in the Tetuán neighborhood near the Santiago Bernabéu stadium and 3 blocks from the Estrecho metro station.
National Museum of Romanticism
The Museo Nacional del Romaticismo is a state-run museum that focuses entirely on the daily life and customs from 19th century Spain using the romantic style as the uniting theme. This movement emphasized fantasy, imagination and the irrational and was a reaction to the simplicity and symmetry of the neo-classical movement. Housed in an 18th century mansion in the center of Madrid between Sagasta and Fuencarral streets, this museum will offer you a perspective of what Spain was like at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Museo del Traje
The Museo del traje—literally the dress museum—is a museum dedicated to Spanish fashion and costume. Here you will find exhibits that show you the evolution of clothing in Spain from the 18th century to the present. You will also see examples of regional dress and costumes that illustrate just how culturally diverse Spain really is. There is also an important contemporary element that highlights modern Spanish designers and shows how they have influenced global fashion trends. This museum is housed in a modern building in the north-western part of Madrid close to the Faro de Moncloa and the Arco de la Victoria.
Royal Tapestry Factory
Tapestries have been an important part of Spanish art and culture since the middle ages. With the treaty of Utrecht signed, Flemish tapestries became harder to come by and Spanish king Philip V needed to find a new source. To remedy this, he founded in 1720 the Royal Tapestry Factory. Today this factory is still producing works of art in its present location within a building that was constructed in 1889. The museum offers guided tours every 30 minutes that will take you through the workshops to show you the painstaking precision that these works of art require. You will also have the opportunity to see some incredible finished works on display and meet the artisans that make it all possible. A favorite stop for those who have gone, the museum is in the center of town near the Atocha train station behind the Basilica of our Lady of Atocha. The museum is only open Monday through Friday until 14:00 with the last guided tour at 13:30.
The Train Museum
The Museo del Ferrocarril is a museum dedicated to everything related to the history of rail transport in Spain housed inside the historic converted Delicias train station built in 1880. The museum has on display more than 4,800 pieces ranging from clocks to locomotives. Kids will especially love the idea of roaming between all the trains and exhibits. Especially entertaining is the Mercado de Motores. Every second weekend of the month the museum turns into a flea market full of stands selling everything from vintage clothes to soaps to model trains. You will also find an assortment of food stalls and a great terrace with tables and chairs to relax and listen to one of the many live bands that play throughout the weekend. This is definitely a great way to experience a bit of authentic Spanish living. The train museum is located 6 blocks south of the Atocha train station and next to the Delicias metro station.
If you are in Madrid remember: a museum visit is enriching, easy, inexpensive and you don’t have to feel like head of cattle in roundup. Here we’ve given you some ideas, but if there is a small and lesser known museum that you’ve visited in Madrid that isn’t mentioned here let us know!
Keywords: spanish art,madrid attractions,museums in madrid,madrid museums,what to see in madrid,visit madrid