In July 1926, one month after Antoni Gaudí's death, Joaquim Folch i Torres, director general of the Barcelona Arts Museums, suggested opening one in his workshop to conserve and publicise his work. The idea found support in 1935 from a group of artists and intellectuals.
The burning of the workshop in 1936 was an immense loss and involved a change to the museum proposal. The long process of collecting the material connected with the work and the figure of Gaudí and the reconstruction of plaster models from the remains began. The process would allow the works on the church to continue and a museum to open, though inevitably quite different from the one conceived before 1936.
The Museum was inaugurated in 1961 in the half-basement on the Passion facade. That original core, with later extensions and refurbishments, is now part of the Museum. While not forgetting Gaudí's output as a whole, the exhibition focuses on the building works on the church.
Among the outstanding exhibits are drawings, photographs taken at the time, liturgical furniture and models: restored originals, replicas of originals and new ones. The reconstruction of the polyfunicular model of the church at Colònia Güell is remarkable.
The present day model-makers' workshop, where Gaudí's original models are restored and reproduced on different scales to guarantee fidelity to the original project, and an audiovisual about the history and the present moment of the building of the church complete the visit to the Museum and make it more educational and easier to understand.
A global project for the extension and renovation of the Museum is now under way with the twofold aim of preserving Gaudí's work and spirit and making them known to all those interested. His personal biography is important, and the visit will conclude with a view of his tomb.