Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona

Salvador collection

Science Collections Salvador collection

The Salvador Collection is the core of the Salvador Cabinet, which is conserved in the building of the Institut Botànic de Barcelona, on Montjuïc.  It was acquired by Barcelona City Council and handed in to the Institut Botànic de Barcelona -part of it in 1945 and another part in 2013. The contents of the cabinet has reached us in very complete form, thanks to the efforts of generations of the Salvador family, generations of botanists of the Institut Botànic de Barcelona and authorities of Barcelona City Council in different times. All of them have made it possible for this unique cabinet of curiosities to be conserved today.

The Salvadors were a dynasty of apothecaries and naturalists from Barcelona, who, from the early 17th century to the middle of the 19th century, collected a library and some very important scientific collections. They opened up this patrimony to studious people from at least the middle of the 18th century. This was the first “museum” open to the public in Barcelona. The old wooden polychrome furniture has been conserved in good condition, together with a collection of books and documents and a natural science collection.


  • Collection fund
  • Sources of acquisitions
  • Preparation and preservation
  • Documentation fund


Geology conserves rocks, minerals and fossils (almost all of them marine)

In botany, most of the materials are herbarium sheets. The herbarium is the oldest on the Iberian peninsula. It contains cormophytes, mosses, lichens, algae, fungi, hepatica, fruits, pomonas, woods, etc. Pomonas are copies and reproductions of fruits.

In terms of zoology, a large part of the collection materials are molluscs and there are also corals, echinoderms, arthropods, fish, reptiles and mammals.

Artificialia includes 197 apothecary utensils, mostly different types of jars, both empty and full, and some archaeological/ethnological samples, as well as more than 200 samples of  terra sigillata.

The collection materials have been inventoried and then reviewed by specialists in each group.


The Salvador dynasty carried out a tremendous labour of collecting, based on curiosity and the scientific spirit. The conserved documentation also shows that they carried out exchanges with other naturalists and scientists, and that they maintained contacts with many people who provided them with materials of different types, which they collected and studied.


Between 2012 and 2014 a project was developed to undertake exhaustive conservation and restoration of the entire contents of the collections, both documents and furniture and of the contents of the natural science collections; the climate-control installation where the cabinet is located has been modernized and documents and books have been restored by means of a deacidification treatment. Preventive conservation of the specimens has focused on cleaning and designing and making permanent packaging. More than 50 specimens have been restored and are on display at the “Salvadoriana exhibition and in the permanent room of the Salvador Cabinet.

The Salvador collection contains more than 1400 books and more than 12,000 documents, many of them handwritten. The books are from the 16th, 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries.  You can consult the collection at the library of the Institut Botànic de Barcelona.