Museu de Solsona Diocesà i Comarcal

The Museu Diocesà i Comarcal de Solsona dates back to 1896, when Bishop Ramon Riu i Cabanes, driven by the desire to safeguard and raise the profile of the heritage of the Diocese, opened the Musaeum Archaeologicum Dioecesanum of Solsona as one of the first Diocesan museums of Catalonia.

From its early days, it was a pioneering museum that, much like the Episcopal Museum of Vic, embarked on an important task of collecting and conserving sacred art and liturgical objects. Initially, the Museum was housed in the old seminary building (Llobera Hospital building, now the offices of Solsonès District Council) with a Christian sacred archaeology laboratory under the direction of Doctors  Marià Grandia and Jaume Viladrich. In 1898, Bishop Riu acquired at public auction a collection of salt objects and works of art from the Salt Museum of Cardona, owned by Father Riba i Fígols, which went to the Museum. Father Joan Serra i Vilaró gave the final impetus to this institution when he was appointed Director by Bishop Lluís Amigó in 1909. He set about creating the Prehistory section of the Museum, which included thousands of objects from archaeological excavations that he himself performed throughout the Diocese. It was an enormous task that gave the Diocesan Museum of Solsona an unequalled character all of its own. This growth led to the Museum’s transfer to the space over the cathedral cloister. When Serra i Vilaró was called to Tarragona in 1925, Father Santamaria took over the direction of the Museum until Civil War broke out in 1936.

During the War, the Revolutionary Committee of Solsona, chaired by Francesc Viadiu, was put in charge of the Museum and appointed Manuel Boixader as Director. The Committee intervened directly in saving the Museum and many of the belongings of the parishes that had been transferred to it and were housed in the rooms on the first floor of the Episcopal Palace. Towards the end of the conflict, much of the Museum’s collection was sent to Geneva by order of the Republican Government.

The Museum embarked on a new phase in 1939 when Dr. Antoni Llorens took over its management and negotiated the return of its assets. At the same time, new works were added which expanded the collection and allowed the renovated Museum to re-open on 8 September 1944 with its exhibition halls on the first floor of the Episcopal Palace and the rooms above the cloister. Dr. Llorens remained at the head of the Museum until 1977, when Father Antoni Bach took over. With the passing of time, the lack of financial resources and renovation of the halls forced the Museum to close its doors temporarily in the late 1970s.

The Board of Trustees set up following the agreement signed in 1982 allowed for the global restructuring of the Museum, which was carried in two phases. The first included the reception, function rooms and temporary exhibition halls, in addition to the prehistory, Ancient and mediaeval spaces (Romanesque). This phase was inaugurated on 26 November 1983. The second phase covered the Middle Ages (Gothic period) and Modern and Contemporary Era, along with bookings, the library and the restoration workshop. It was inaugurated on 25 November 1989 with the facilities allowing the optimal display of the Museum collections today.

 

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