Museo Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática

Museo Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática
Cartagena, Spain

The National Museum of Underwater Archaeology. ARQUA is the institution responsible for raising public awareness of the Underwater Cultural Heritage of Spain, promoting its conservation, and thus enhancing its use and enjoyment.

Its objectives are the study, evaluation, research, conservation, promotion and protection of Spain's Underwater Cultural Heritage. 

These tasks are carried out jointly with the various local governments of the Autonomous Regions and their research centres, and with the member states signatories of the UNESCO Convention.

ARQUA is also the home of the Permanent Observatory of the National Plan for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. 

The institution now called the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology. ARQUA, a fusion of the Latin words Archaeologia and Aqua.

The museum's origins lie in the former Board of Submarine Archaeological Excavations of Cartagena, created in 1970 and associated in 1973 with the Submarine Archaeology Centre of Cartagena. Finally, the National Museum of Maritime Archaeology and National Centre for Submarine Archaeological Research was created in 1980, and officially opened in 1982. 

The new seat of the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology. ARQUA, in a building designed by the winner of the National Architecture Award, Guillermo Vázquez-Consuegra, whose advanced design earned its exhibition at the MOMA New York, is a project with a long history which began in the late 1990s. 

The first stone was laid on 23 January 2002. Since then the project has gone through various changes. Adapting and substantially improving the project meant greater specificity as to the functions of the museum, which can now be seen as a space dedicated to the conservation, research, exhibition and promotion of Spain's Underwater Cultural Heritage. 

The new building is a complex of over some 6,000 m2 with a Permanent Exhibition room of 1,600 m2 and an extraordinary Temporary Exhibition Room of 500 m2. Nearly 1,000 m2 are dedicated to the conservation of the rich and varied holdings of the centre, with a large room dedicated to amphorae, an exceptional compact room and a gallery where the Reserve Collections not on show elsewhere will be displayed. It is also equipped to house the various documentary, photographic and planimetric archives and a modern library on two floors with indirect natural light.

The museum has an important area dedicated to the Promotion Department, with classrooms ready to hold the scheduled workshops and activities. Still in the area of education and the dissemination of scientific knowledge, the museum has an Auditorium, equipped with the latest technology, making it a multipurpose space for holding all types of events.

Similarly, the museum has other spaces housing services such as the cafe-restaurant, shop, and areas intended to make the museum not just a place for exhibitions, but for cultural interchange.

Opening Hours and Rates

15 April - 15 October:Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 21:00 Sundays and public holidays, from 10:00 to 15:0016 October - 14 April: Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 20:00 Sundays and public holidays from 10:00 to 15:00Ticket sales end 30 minutes before the exhibition closes.The museum is closed:Every Monday1 and 6 January 1 May24, 25 and 31 December1 local public holiday


Standard rate: €3Concessionary rate: €1. 50Free entrance: consult special entrance conditions ARQUA Annual Card: €25Cardholders can visit the museum as often as they like during the year.Annual State Museum Card: €36This season ticket grants access to all state-owned museums for one year.Free entrance for all members of the public: Saturdays, from 15:00.Sundays and:18 May (International Museums Day), 12 October (National Holiday) and6 December (Spanish Constitution Day).Free entrance for:Children under 18, the over 65s, retirees and pensioners, unemployed people with accreditation, members of the Association of Friends of the Museum and cultural and educational volunteers.

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National Museum of Underwater ArchaeologyP.º Alfonso XII, 22
30202 Cartagena
Visit Museo Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática's website
Opening hours
Tuesday10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Thursday10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
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