Archivo de Villa
The archive is first mentioned in a Royal Provision of Charles I (1525), although the three keyed chest (Medieval deposit of the Madrilenian scrolls) is mentioned frequently in records from as early as the 15th century. The archive received its definitive organisation in the 18th century. It was appointed to the first professional archivist in 1748, the first regulations and instructions for its functioning were approved in 1753 and a Royal Decree in 1781 declared it a ‘public office.’
In 1844 it was opened up for research. It has been moved three times, first from the Plaza de la Villa (17th century – 1868), to the ‘Bakery House’ (Casa Panadería) in the Plaza Mayor (1868-1987) and finally to the barracks of the Conde Duque (1987 – present day). The oldest of the archive’s documents dates back to 1152, and the most recent to the present day. The custody of the collection has never been endangered, despite it having lived through many monumental historical events.
The archive’s documents occupy eighteen kilometres of shelving and include documents from Madrid city council and from several old towns that were annexed in the 20th century, as well as from private archives and collections. All municipal activities, from the 12th century until the present day, are mentioned in the archive’s scrolls and papers.
1. Archivo de Villa
© Paco Gómez
2. Archivo de Villa
© Paco Gómez
Biblioteca Digital memoriademadrid
Madrid’s Digital Memory Library (Biblioteca Digital memoriademadrid) was created to circulate via the internet, and facilitate public access to, the rich historical and cultural history of Madrid that the city council conserves through its various institutions.
To do this, the Library makes publicly available in digital format. They come from the various organisations within the city council that help to maintain Madrid’s cultural memory. The municipal newspaper library, town archive, history library, History Museum, municipal printing press and the Victor Espinós Library are the principal sources from which the library has created its digital collection. It contains almost two million images, which serve to display the city’s memory. Through collaboration and cooperation, the library also strives to integrate them with other projects of a similar nature, both on national and international levels.
These objectives affirm the need to publicise and diffuse the project as much as possible, without limiting its reach to solely an academic or research-driven audience.
The library hopes to open a door to the memory of the city, that everybody will be able to access.
Circulation and awareness are two of the library’s firmest commitments. In this way, it aims to open up Madrid’s documented heritage to all citizens, whether they are curious casual visitors, or scholars of the city’s history. The ultimate intention is to enable our visitors to access this collection of digital reproductions of our resources in a form that simulates, as much as is possible, the direct physical experience.
1. Digitalization of Documents © Paco Gómez
2. Digitalization of Documents © Paco Gómez
Biblioteca Histórica Municipal
The Municipal History Library of Madrid is a library that specialises in local, Madrilenian resources. It conserves a bibliographic collection of great patrimonial significance. It contains a very diverse typology, with almost 222,000 volumes of manuscripts and printed documents dating from the 15th to the 21st centuries. Notable texts within the collection include twenty three signed allegorical plays by Pedro Calderón de la Barca and the ‘Madrid’ and ‘Theatre and Stage Music,’ collections, among others. Other unique collections have been acquired by the library, either as purchases or donations, such as: ‘Literature From The First Part of The 20th Century’ and ‘Study of Proverbs.’ These acquisitions have made the institution a key reference point on such subject matters.
During its varied history, from when it was founded in 1876 as the Municipal Library, it has performed the functions of a library service: Education on, and expanding of, its bibliographic collection, as well as its conservation and circulation.
For almost a century after its initial founding the library was a general public library, aiming its services at the general public. In 1990 the Municipal Library was then divided into two parts: A public library and a history library. This is when what is now known as The Municipal History Library of Madrid began to specialise in collections of its own, focused on older texts. Its role of conserver and custodian of the municipal bibliographic heritage gained strength, and so it became a research centre and indispensable source of many academic works, both national and foreign.
1. Biblioteca Histórica Municipal © Paco Gómez
2. Biblioteca Histórica Municipal © Paco Gómez
Biblioteca Pública Conde Duque
The Conde Duque Public Library (Biblioteca Pública Conde Duque) forms part of the extensive network of Municipal Public Libraries. The centre is the result of an extension and renovation of the old Conde Duque Central Library (Biblioteca Central Conde Duque).
With its wide range of resources and services, the library offers Madrilenians various means of access to information, knowledge, culture and entertainment. The centre offers the following facilities: Lending out of books and audiovisual material, reading and meeting rooms, public internet access, a Wifi zone, bibliographic catalogues and information, user training, entertainment activities, photocopying, and more.
The library offers more than 200 reading posts and 32 internet access points.
1. Biblioteca Pública Conde Duque © Paco Gómez
2. Biblioteca Pública Conde Duque © Paco Gómez
Biblioteca Musical Víctor Espinós
Founded in 1919, it is a centre that is dedicated to the dissemination and promotion of music education. From its very beginning, the library has had a distinct character, which emphasises services to the public and the welcoming of all types of users.
In 1932 the library pioneered an instrument lending service, with the aim of facilitating musical studies for those with scarce economic resources. The centre’s collection is, in terms of both quality and rarity, one of the most important collections in both Madrid and the entire country, especially in terms of Spanish music.
Parts of the collection, available for lending out or for viewing within the library, which stand stand out include, treaties, biographies, and other books about music theory, practice, composers and performers, a well-stocked department of study, solfeggio and harmony methods, as well as other educational works, and musical scores for a large variety of instruments, styles and periods. The library also has to offer both old and modern reviews and periodicals, music recordings and videos, concert programmes, posters and information about the musical life of our city and, as its truly exceptional pieces, a collection of musical scores that are based on El Quijote.
The library offers the following services: Bibliographic catalogues and information, book and music score reading rooms, lending out of books and music scores, photocopying, lending out of musical instruments, individual and group rehearsal cabins, music video viewing cabins and a listening room.
The library offers 30 reading posts.
1. Biblioteca Musical Víctor Espinós © Paco Gómez
The Municipal Newspaper Library (Hemeroteca Municipal), founded in 1916, was inaugurated in 1918 in the old Slaughter House (Casa de la Carnicería) in the Plaza Mayor. The library’s collection grew quickly with numerous acquisitions, as well as notable deposits and donations from both private sources and official entities. During the second Spanish Republic, this important collection acquired well-deserved recognition both in Spain and abroad. During the civil war it grew even more as it collected publications from the two contending sides. In 1983 it was moved from the Town Square to the restored barracks of the Royal Guard Corps, currently known as Conde Duque.
The library holds almost 250,000 volumes, corresponding to 25,000 titles. There are records and information dating back to the 16th century, and newspapers dating back to the 17th century, when the newspaper press was first used. There are many publications from the 18th and 19th centuries, the Restoration and both Republics.
From 1966 onwards, because of resource constraints, the library was restricted to the reception of publications that have been edited in Madrid, that form the largest part of the collection. However, the library continues to conserve valuable titles that come from other areas of Spain, Latin America and various European countries.
In 1949 the library opened a microfilm reproduction service, the first in Spain. In 1992 it also opened Spain’s first microform reading room. In 1986, systematic microfilming of the collection began and in 1998 the digitalisation process began, facilitating the access and circulation of this rich collection via the internet.
The library frequently organises cultural activities, including guided visits, which can be varied according to the visitor’s background and interests. After another relocation, on December 23rd 2011 the library opened the doors of its new facilities on the Conde Duque’s North Patio.
The library has also incorporated into its services the ability to reference other virtual newspaper libraries and digital presses. All of the library’s rooms have WiFi connection.
1. Hemeroteca Municipal
© Paco Gómez
2. Hemeroteca Municipal
© Paco Gómez
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
“In his Structural Anthropology, Claude Lévi-Strauss taught us that ‘formal analysis immediately raises the question of meaning’. In that sense, a formal analysis of the works that make up a collection and the collection itself as an entity in the context of a museum or institution always implies a certain sequencing which we might call “The Order of the Collection”. Here this order is predicated on the syntagma of The Portable Museum, the vessel of the entire project deployed in these two galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo/MAC), and that syntagma serves as the nexus between two interconnected realities: the permanent collection and the Study of Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Portability is a trait that interlaces and defines both levels and contents, underscoring their transitory nature and cementing the notion of a mobile museum within a museum.
For who can deny that Ramón’s study is a museum within the museum, or that the works in a collection constitute a portable museum inside a museum? The new “reading” of the collection is based on the articulation of four independent units—Form and Gesture, Figure and Reality, Image and the City and Oneness and Multiplicity—all of which can also be applied to Ramón’s study, the basis of this new interpretation of the collection and of the programme that will bring it to life (…)
This felicitous conjunction of selected pieces from the museum’s permanent collection with images of the art and objects that Ramón collected in his study, the new identifying hallmark of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Madrid, has allowed us to interweave a variety of concepts and realities which, thanks to the fascinating formula of “the museum within the museum”, will establish an appealing programme for the institution in the very near future”.
(Eduardo Alaminos López, Director of Museo de Arte Contemporáneo)
1. Study of Ramón Gómez de la Serna. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Madrid © Pablo Linés
Conde Duque’s four exhibition rooms are situated around the South Terrace (lower floor and basement). They can be used independently or as interconnected spaces. During refurbishment, the exhibition space was one of the areas that was most significantly altered; before the renovations in 2005 Conde Duque had 3,012 m² of exhibition space, whereas it currently boasts 5,929 m². All of the rooms on the lower floor can also be opened out onto the South Terrace to further expand their exhibition spaces.
The Conde Duque Auditorium has undergone a complete reformation with the aim of creating a space that is modern and versatile. It is a place dedicated to music, which is intended to be both a lively space and a musical reference point in Madrid. The refurbishment has significantly improved the auditorium’s technical, functional and formal characteristics. Total area of 1,301.58 m² and 260 seat capacity (of which, two are for spectators using wheel chairs and two for their companions). There is also additional capacity for 70 people in the choir seats, which are unnumbered benches.
Conde Duque houses a performance space that is characterised by its versatility and technical equipment, making it ideal for both theatre and dance performances. With a floor space of 2,093m², it offers a perfect area for creativity from an open perspective to all performance disciplines. It is especially apt for the world of dance, offering a great opportunity to Madrid’s dance companies to carry on developing the city’s dance scene. 251 seat capacity (of which, two are for spectators using wheel chairs and two for their companions).
The Events Room
The Events Room is characterised by its versatility and is located above the main foyer, from which it has direct access. It can hold 287 seat capacity (of which, two are for spectators using wheel chairs and two for their companions) and functions in support of the centre’s entire programme.
Conde Duque has two large rehearsal rooms, one for theatre rehearsal and one for dance. Although they complement the theatre, they have been designed in such a way that they can be used independently, with separate access and dressing rooms. Both rehearsal rooms are located in the southern side of the South Terrace, on the first floor.
1. South Room
© Paco Gómez
2. Auditorium © Paco Gómez
3. Theatre © Paco Gómez
4. The Events Room
© Paco Gómez
5. Rehearsal Room
© Paco Gómez