Spain's National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología) offers visitors a global view of communities around the world. It looks at the similarities and differences between their cultures, exploring the things they have in common and those that are unique to them. In so doing, it reflects on cultural diversity around the world and promotes tolerance towards other communities and cultures. Its aim is also to stimulate an interest in these topics through its exhibitions and a wide range of activities.
The museum opened in 1875 as the Anthropological Museum (Museo Antropológico). It was Spain's first museum of anthropology. The driving force behind the museum was a doctor, Pedro González Velasco. Upon his death, the Spanish government purchased the building along with all its collections. The collections show the tangible culture of a whole range of societies from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. It also has collections relating to physical anthropology. In addition, it houses significant paper collections of woodcuts, lithographs, and photographs dating from the 19th and 20th centuries.