The museum, that is about to turn into 100 years of history, was one of the first European museums of this type, following the example of the South Kensington Museum (nowadays known as Victoria & Albert Museum).
Inspired by this kind of museums, the MNAD was created in 1912 as the National Museum of Industrial Arts, but the museum can be traced back to 1871, with the creation of the School of Arts and Crafts, which integrated an Industrial Museum at its headquarters. Finally, in 1930 was charged to its present name, the National Museum of Decorative Arts.
According to this intention the Collections are displayed chronologically and systematically, along with period rooms from earlier eras.
The museum is used to programming, each year, temporary exhibitions, on its own or in collaboration with other institutions. Thanks to these experimental exhibitions, the MNAD is currently working on the application of new methods of exhibition and is also studying the results of these innovations in the public. These studies address the museum concern about communication with its real, potential and virtual visitors, a priority area that makes cultural heritage more attractive to these citizens.
The museum houses a permanent collection of over 70.000 objects from several geographic origins; mainly from Spain, but also from other European countries as well as the Orient. This collection ranges a very large period. Whereas the oldest pieces date back from the 4th century BC, the chronological sequence goes from the 14th century until the first half of the 21st century, including the collection of Avant-Garde Design as well as recent acquisitions of Contemporary Design.
This wide collection includes an entire range of materials, techniques and typologies, including textiles, metalwork, furniture, ceramics, glass, costumes, silver, ironwork, ivory, to prints and paper on different supports…