The purpose of ‘Salvadoriana’ is to showcase a veritable treasure from Barcelona’s scientific heritage that needs to be rediscovered since it has been hidden from the public for many, many years: the cabinet of natural curiosities gathered together by several generations of the Salvador family in the rear office of their pharmacy on Carrer Ample in Barcelona.
17th- and 18th-century cabinets of curiosities were mainly made up of elements from the three kingdoms of the natural world (animal, plant and mineral), systematically identified, labelled and classified. The collection, born from curiosity and the passion for collecting, but also from a vocation for scientific research, sought to contribute to a better understanding of nature and how it works. This also included extraordinary objects (whether exotic, wondrous, strange or unusual), both natural and artificial, because such objects exercised a powerful fascination on all those interested in learning and filled with scientific curiosity.
However, ‘Salvadoriana’ is not limited solely to this mission of ‘showing a treasure’ practically unknown until the present. The exhibition also serves three more purposes: to present, in an attractive way, the scientific culture of the Barcelona of the period; to demonstrate its connection with European science in those days; and to describe the material and intellectual bases on which scientific knowledge of nature was built at the time.
Nevertheless, the exhibition is not intended to present a single, unequivocal vision of these three aspects. It is not a question of guiding visitors towards a ‘right’ answer about the meaning of this kind of collections. Rather, on the contrary, the aim is to enable visitors to interact with some of the objects and different exhibition resources in order to form their own idea about what it was and what activities were associated with these cabinets of natural curiosities.
Admission to the ‘Salvadoriana’ exhibition is included in the ticket for the Jardí Botànic.