Antiguo Museo del Ejército, Madrid

Category: Madrid

Are you planning a visit to the beautiful country of Spain, or more specifically, to its largest city and capital, Madrid? Have you considered the sites and attractions you’d like to visit during your upcoming stay? Madrid is a city loaded with fun and interesting things to do and see, including precious historical monuments, stunning architecture, breathtaking landscapes and scores of museums featuring art masterpieces and relics of the past. One such museum, the Museo del Ejército, celebrates the history of the Spanish army and showcases hundreds of historically-significant items from many of the country’s most epic battles. In the following article we will profile the Museo del Ejército and provide some interesting facts regarding its history, makeup and location.

Museo del Ejército: A Brief Profile

The Museo del Ejército, or Army Museum, is a state museum, whose primary goal is to promote a better understanding and knowledge of Spanish military history. The museum, which subsists on the support of the National Defense Ministry of Spain, is the result of a merger of several military museums created in Spain during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In 1803, at the request of then Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, the Museo del Ejército was created under the name, Royal Military Museum. In 1827, the Royal Military Museum was divided into two sections: the Museum of Artillery and Museum of Engineers. These were the first museums in Spain dedicated to military history, but towards the late 19th century several more began to pop up throughout Spain, including the Quartermaster Museum, in 1885; the Museum of Cavalry, in 1889; and the Infantry Museum, in 1908, all of which operated independently of each other.

Talks regarding combining the military museums of Spain commenced in 1929. However, it was not until 1932 and the Second Republic that this task was ultimately taken on and completed. The new museum, Museo del Ejército, was located in downtown Madrid and included sections for the four Weapons and Quartermaster Corps and Military Health. Following the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, the museum was moved to the Buen Retiro Palace, located at Parque del Buen Retiro, known commonly as Buen Retiro Park. Currently the Museo del Ejército is housed at the Alcázar of Toledo, a change that has not only been geographically significant, but one that involved the reorganization of the exhibitions and renovations designed to update the facility to current museum standards.

Of the many museums that now dot the Madrid cityscape, the Museo del Ejército is one of the oldest and most significant. In its early years of existence, one of its main objectives was to help further the education being provided by the military academies and to train soldiers in modern weaponry. Today it stands as one of the finest collections of military memorabilia in all of Europe and prides itself on the preservation and promotion of objects related to military history.