There was a time when the old was just old, when objects from other times were useless junk that were left by the wayside each time we moved home. Poorly understood modernity led us to despise what was not up-to-date, to consider it a heavy load to be gotten rid of. Due to this narrow-minded conception, our collective memory was left without many of the objects that would today help us to understand what we were and what we are.
Times have changed, however, and there are those who began to value objects from the past for their cultural, testimonial and sentimental value. As a result, ethnography emerged and, with it, the museums that gather cultural heritage. Gijon was fortunate many years ago now to count on the figure of Luis Argüelles, the promoter of what is nowadays the Pueblu d’Asturies Museum. One of the jewels of Gijón’s network of museums, it preserves elements of Asturian material heritage that allow a tour of facets that include housing, the implements of daily life, clothing, everyday customs in the kitchen, daily life, death, food and transport.
Since the mid-1980s, the museum site has been enriched with new pieces and collections. The Municipal Culture Foundation took over its management in 1985, beginning a programme of reforms and an intensive policy aimed at the acquisition of exhibits. In 1992, the Bagpipe Museum was set up in the House of the González de la Vega family and, in 1994, Asturias’ Pavilion at the Seville Expo 1992 was moved to the site.
The museum has not ceased to acquire utensils, forming part of an ever-growing collection of exhibits, including hundreds of objects dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum also houses the Photolibrary of Asturias, made up of archives from professional and amateur photographers, family collections and assorted photographs taken by Asturians or people from other parts who worked in Asturias or had some kind of relation with the region.
Since 1992, the Pueblu d’Asturies Museum’s collections of photographs have gradually grown and been enriched via purchases, donations or deposits made by photographers themselves or their families, or thanks to the collaboration of different individuals, institutions or companies. These hundreds of thousands of images are distributed according to series and collections.
The temporary and permanent exhibitions it holds constitute an attraction for any visitor who is curious. What’s more, the Pueblu d’Asturies Museum offers the possibility of guided tours of the entire site to help visitors become acquainted with its basic elements.