In July 1926, a month after the death of Gaudí, Joaquim Folch i Torres, director of the Museus d’Art of Barcelona, proposed establishing a museum in the architect’s studio workshop to preserve and promote the work of Gaudí.
The fire in the studio workshop in 1936 was a huge setback. A long process of gathering together material relating to the work and figure of Gaudí was started together with the piecing together of the smashed plaster models. This process led to the continuation of the works of the temple and the opening of a museum.
The museum Sagrada Familia opened in 1961 in the semi-basement under the Passion facade. This is the basic core, together with later additions and refurbishment, of the present museum display which, while also including Gaudí’s other work, centres on the construction of the temple.
Of particular interest are the drawings, contemporary photographs, liturgical furnishings and the restored original models, as well as replicas of originals and new modern models. Taking pride of place is the stringed model of the church at the Colònia Güell.
The temple museum is undergoing rehabilitation and restructuring, which will be carried out in phases throughout 2017. The main aim is to make the current contents more easily understandable and accessible to visitors by updating the display cases, discourse, lighting and selection of pieces.
In the “Inspired by nature” section, a new 102-m² space with light panels, large-format photos and 20 plaster models, visitors will be able to touch the displays to help them understand how important observing and analysing nature was in the development of Gaudí’s formal, symbolic and building solutions.
The subsections of the exhibit are: “The exuberance of nature”, “The geometry of nature”, “The great forest and Mineral crystals”.
The present-day modelling studio, where Gaudí’s original maquettes are restored and reproduced to different scales to ensure faithfulness to the original plan, and an audio-visual presentation on the history and the present state of construction of the temple complete the visit.
Currently there is an ongoing project to extend and refurbish the museum with the twin aims of conserving the work and ideas of Gaudí, and promote knowledge of it to a wider public.