The Archaeological Museum of Banyoles occupies the Gothic building of the Pia Almoina, in the Old Quarter. It houses an extensive collection of palaeontological and archaeological material obtained from a number of excavations carried out in the region, specifically, the Caves of Serinyà, the Roman Villa of Vilauba, and the Neolithic settlement of La Draga.
The embryo of the museum was the School of Arts and Trades of Banyoles, which opened its doors in 1928. So that the students could practise live drawing, two Romanesque capitals from the cloister of the monastery of Sant Esteve de Banyoles were brought to the building in 1931. One year later, in 1932, the Roman Villa of Vilauba (Camós) was discovered when building a road. Given the significance of the finding, it was decided to found a small museum, known at that time as the Museum of Local Antiquities.
Initially, the Museum had just one room on the first floor. It was not until 1949 that a new room was opened, the Prehistory room, with palaeolithic era objects found at the caves of Serinyà.
In 1954, the building’s ground floor was renovated and expanded with a new History room, which exhibited materials from the Iberian, Roman, medieval and also modern periods.
On 1 March 1962, it was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument by the Ministry of National Education. Thus, the institution now officially became the place for safekeeping material from the archaeological and palaeontological excavations in the Pla de l’Estany. With the advent of democracy, this status was ratified by the Government of Catalonia in 1982.
In 1976, the Prehistory rooms were completely renovated and, in 1987, a Palaeontology room was created. Now, after a partial museographic redesign undertaken in the mid-1990s, in part to create room for outstanding new material from the Neolithic settlement of La Draga, the Museum is currently in the midst of its greatest challenge since it was created: the complete renewal of all its facilities, from the storerooms to the exhibition rooms, with the goal of becoming a national and international reference centre.
For more information, www.museusdebanyoles.cat
Plaça de la Font, 11
Tel. (0034) 972 572 361