New exhibition "Industrial Empordà"

This exhibition offers an overview of the historical evolution of Empordà, as well as of its industrial typology and that of the different industrialization models occurring in the region from the 18th century

Until 16 September, the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (mNACTEC) is hosting the exhibition “Industrial Empordà”. mNACTEC, the Ecomuseum-Flour Mill of Castelló d’Empúries and the Cork Museum in Palafrugell have collaborated to provide a comprehensive look at industrialization, one of the most important periods of our contemporary history.

The exhibition presents a route around Empordà through the different landscapes and industries of the 18th century, It offers an overview of the evolution of history, types of industry and different industrialization models in Alt and Baix Empordà. Alt Empordà was a major hub for trade and industry around Figueres, while Baix Empordà is known as a region which worked mainly with cork.

The exhibition is curated by Eusebi Casanelles, director of mNACTEC between 1983 and 2013, president of the Spanish Association of Industrial Heritage and Public Works between 1988 and 1991, and a member of the executive committee of TICCIH (The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage), where he held the post of president from 2000 to 2009 and is currently honorary president. In 2017 he was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi. The work of Casanelles has highlighted the complex manufacturing initiatives seen in Empordà in the last two centuries, as well as the wealth of its industrial and technological heritage.

Sections of the exhibition

The exhibition is divided into eight sections. Access to power enabled the formation of an economic and human unit where four types of economy were established. These were determined by the sea, the plains, the areas with less production - with grape and olive cultivation - and the mountain. Each of these types of economy led to the development of a different type of industry.

Among these it is worth noting the production of cork tops which began in Catalonia in the first half of the 18th century and was greatly transformed well into the 19th century. This unique industrial model stood out from the cotton production model which dominated Catalonia and which was present in Alt Empordà and Baix Empordà in the 18th and 19th centuries, followed by a focus on marine production in the 20th century.

It is also worth noting the importance of Figueres, which as far back as the 16th century became the capital of Alt Empordà given its importance in terms of trade. In the 18th century it became a very active city due to the small and medium-sized manufacturing workshops, and it became a powerful economic centre thanks to the initiatives of a small group of merchants and landowners which allowed it to keep up with the socioeconomic pace of other fully industrialized cities.

The exhibition is divided into the following sections:

  1. Empordà, a diversified economy
  2. Activities and industry of the sea
  3. Expansion of agricultural land
  4. Livestock
  5. Forestry
  6. Mountain industry
  7. Cork: a unique industrial model
  8. Figueres, centre for trade and industry

press-clock 26 April 2018