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Madrid: Geomining Museum, the very best kept secret

Updated on December 29, 2009
View of the main room. Credit www.igme.es
View of the main room. Credit www.igme.es
Lobby
Lobby

Hard facts about the museum

Created by Royal Decree of Queen Isabel II in July 12 1849, the Geomining Museum houses an exhibition of 3,500 minerals and 6,000 fossils. Its main purpose is to conserve and spread the diversity and wealth of the paleontological, geologic and mineral patrimony from the Spanish regions and its old colonial territory. It is part of the Geologic and Mining Institute of Spain and besides the permanent and temporary exhibitions, it conducts environment education to students.

The construction of the building that presently hosts the museum started on 1921, directed by architect Francisco Javier de Luque. It went through several constructions stages, interrupted by the war, and lack of funds in the post war, until it finally completed in the 40s decade. The museum in its current state, after a cleanup and renovation project, reopened to the public in March 2 1989.

Lobby on the upper floor
Lobby on the upper floor

Minerals, fossils and me?

Having explained what this museum is about, I will confess this: I care not much about minerals or fossils. Shame on me, oh shame! Maybe that’s why it took me roughly 20 years of living in this city to find out about the Geomining Museum. When I did, I couldn’t believe I’ve toured the world over to find and visit beautiful buildings, all the while missing out on the most splendid architectural experience here in the heart of Madrid.

Maybe someone who enjoys fossils and paleontology and minerals could go on and on about the wonders contained in this museum. In a word, that’s not me. I, however, care aplenty about the eye candy offered by this spectacular space. Hence, here’s a gallery of images to prove my case.

Borrowed images

I debated between using my personal collection of photographs instead of the fabulous gallery of images offered by the museum’s website. In the end, ascetics won and I’m borrowing the images, most of them of extraordinary quality, from the source.

Credit for all images goes to www.igme.es.

Lobby and staircases

Galleries and exhibition room

Exhibition room 1926, 1943, 2000

Stained glass

Library

Galleries

Go on, now, go

The museum is open from 9am to 2pm every day except Sunday, and listen to this, access is free. Do the Prado, do the Reina Sofia, by all means do all the known sights, but I encourage you to also visit this space and be amazed.

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    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Holy moley! Now this is quite a spectacular place. Absolutely amazing. The architecture in this museum is a perfect backdrop. At first thought I wouldn't have much interest in geo stuff either. But then I thought how beautiful they must be, and carved right out of the Earth herself. To see them in this museum must really be amazing. Yes, shame on you! Gorgeous is all I can say. Okay, I can say a lot more than that, lol. It looks perfectly cool in temperature and like it has a wonderfully eerie museum echo. Stunning photos!

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Frieda, I admit I hardly looked at the fossils and all the stuff showcased in there, I couldn't stop looking at the "there" itself. By gob if this isn't the most spectacular building, and you can get in for free! Top that now! :-)

    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 7 years ago from Pakistan

      Nice pictures. I have Spain in my mind next year and would see it definitely after having learned so much.

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Hi, hafeezrm! You'll love Spain, I'm sure. How can one not love it :-)

    • Feline Prophet profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

      What a stunning structure! To think those old fossils have a better home than most of us can ever dream of!

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      That's so true Feline! Never thought of it that way, but you are so right! Somehow, that's kind of expected for paintings and sculpture and such, but minerals and fossils.... not so much :-) It is a stunning home!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Wow!!! What an awesome architecture; I love the stained windows. I can see myself spending an entire day there, and then stop at one of the bookstores you have shown in your other hubs, and then have a Latte with a small pastry. :)

      Feliz Ano Nuevo! And besos!

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Hi Violet! Feliz año nuevo to you, too!

      Isn't this place absolutely awesome? I'd recommend starting here, then maybe a visit to San Miguel market for refreshments :-) I was there yesterday, the market was booming!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Wow Elena! Our Natural Science Museum in Houston has a gem and mineral area that I love because it is presented in a dark cave like setting and with the glass encased minerals lighted...it is so beautiful to view. But your GEOMINING MUSEUM.........WOW! Like you said, the building is worth a visit even if it was empty. And to think that it is FREE! Double wow! Thanks for this great hub.

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Hi Peggy! Come to think of it, all my Madrid hubs are places that one can visit for free! I hope I'm giving you ideas for the next time you're in Madrid :-)

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I love the alabaster finish of the lobby and staircases, the subdued stained glass detailing, the balustrade, the dome...yep, I could live there! :D

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      You and I both, Cris! I think it's big enough, and we can share a butler, too! I mean, this lobby deserves a butler to come to the door, doesn't it? :-)

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I think I'm okay with that, you take the right wing and I'll take the left - then let's exchange wings weekly!

      Btw, somebody commented on my hub to have awards hub that she read your A Love Story and she thinks she can use some of the letters and send them to different ex's! Haha

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Oi, I suppose exchanging wings wouldn't be so difficult with the help of a butler and two or three maids. See how I keep adding staff? It's the grand staircase this time, it can't do without at least a couple of maids :-P

      I'm going to check the comments in the hubber awards, I haven't visited since Saturday, I think :-)

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Haha now that's a plan. The butler should sound like Sir Anthony Hopkins and the three maids should sound like Helen Miren, Emma Thompson and the majordoma (I don't know its English equivalent - head servant?) should definitely sound like Judi Dench! :D

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      I know what you mean, I think it's simply housekeeper? Or maybe head housekeeper? As in Emma Thompson's role in "The remains of the day", right? I actually favor Emma as head of the household and then some! Laugh!

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      That and Gosford Park.

      I should definitely go to Madrid and make it my Havana ala-Hemingway or what southern Italy was to Neruda. :D

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Well, I'll keep putting out Madrid articles until I convince you :-)

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

      Elena, what a gem! (pardon the pun!) I love the pics, and I can see why you admire the building more than it's contents, as rocks are not really my thing either. They just don't seem to build these fabulous edifices these days, so we need to treasure the ones that we have.

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Lovely pun, Amanda :-) You're right, these buildings are a thing of the past! I wonder how the buildings of today will fare in future? As in, how will the Water Cube in Beijing or Al-Harma in Kuwait (to name a couple) fare in the next 100 years?

    • profile image

      Linda Myshrall 7 years ago

      Hey Elena! I don't begrudge the fossils their beautiful home... after all, we fossils need a place to live too :)

      Like you, I am stalker of beautiful buildings. I would rather look at a room full of marble-clad support arches and hand carved dentil moldings than a bathtub full of diamonds. Thankfully I had the good sense to marry a contractor ;)

      Nice work as always. Having seen your photographic skills, my guess is yours would give the 'borrowed' photos a run for their money.

      Can't wait to see what's next.

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Hello, Linda! OK, poor fossils, let's not begrudge them their home :-) So we share a taste for architecture, and curiously enough, we share "similar" significant others, mine is an interior designer, whaddaya know!

      Thanks for the compliment on my photos, but really, in this case I'm afraid my camera doesn't hold a candle to the pro one that must have been used to take these shots.

      Yes, let's see what comes next - I started a feature on the Literary Quarter (my first love story with Madrid) but it was such a huge topic that I had to stop and think how to narrow it down. We'll see.

      Besos!

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

      I'm wondering how could we have not know about this when we were in Madrid? It'll be high on our list of "must see" next time. Great hub!

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Hello, Jerilee! As the title of this hub states, this museum is a very well kept secret :-) I've talked to a number of people here, and only one among all had heard that it was a spectacular place, but had never been. I think it's because of the contents. Fossils and minerals are not the most popular topic?

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Elena, I'd love to hear how you finally discovered this gem. (Sorry, no other word will do.) Never mind! I'm the one who walked past that pink rock at the KS Historical Society a zillion times and never knew it was there until you pointed it out. ;D Besos!

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      First of all, BESOS to you :-) How I discovered this gem is as follows: My significant other was reworking our "Madrid guide", checking out places we've seen, not seen yet, etc, and came across this article from Madrid's official website about the Geomining Museum. Next thing you know, I'm watching the piece over her shoulder, and both of us are as slack-jawed as humanly possible without actually losing out false dentures! Of course, it made it to the guide under the category "not seen yet but better bloody see asap" :-) It's a beauty, isn't it?

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Fabulous! Spectacular! Thanks so much to your S.O. for making *you* aware of it so you could share it with us!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      This is certainly appropriate as a cathedral to the earth-- quite elegant, yet the purpose of the place (to display the samples to best advantage and plenty of light) is certainly quite evident. Thanks for sharing this treasure.

    • Elena. profile image
      Author

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      OK, Jama, Ms S.O. will get a peck on the cheek from you, and a little extra soemthing from me :-) At the time she didn't really need the props, though, she was already quite full of herself for having "found" this venue :-)

      Rochelle, my pleasure entirely! And very well put, a cathedral to the earth is what this place seems like. Now I wonder if that is what the architect had in mind when creating this ample and luminous space.

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