The Reina Sofia Museum is one of Spain’s most famous museums, as well as standing out internationally. It is the home of several masterpieces, such as Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”, alongside many other pieces by Picasso himself, Juan Gris, Salvador Dali, Juan Miro… Located in “the golden triangle of art” – surrounded by the Thyssen Bornemisza museum and the Prado museum, el museo Reina Sofia is something that cannot be overlooked whilst visiting Madrid!
With almost 4 million visitors in 2017, the Reina Sofia Museum is one of the most visited in the world!
The history of the building and how it came to be a museum is an interesting story in itself. Before being a museum, the building was actually a hospital, founded by King Felipe II (1527-1598) in the XVIth century. Later on, it’s Carlos III (1716-1788) who decided the building needed reworking, so it could accommodate the city’s need. Several modifications and additions were made to the building until the hospital shut its doors in 1965. It’s only in 1977 that the building was declared a National monument, due to historic and artistic value, thus putting an end to all the rumours of demolition.
However, the building still needed some restorations and that is when the iconic steel and glass elevator towers were installed. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia later inaugurated the permanent collection on the 10thof September 1992. Throughout all of these years, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia has been increasing its collection, which led to the construction of the Nouvel Building, concluded in 2005. This construction by French architect Jean Nouvel increased by more than 60% the old building’s surface area, allowing it to create a privileged exhibition space.
One of the goals of the museum is to train, educate and hold assessment activities related to its holdings. This is why today, the museum offers different programs, workshops and activities to help children, teens and young adults discover the museum and make the most of it.
Teachers and students
The link to the school community is one of the core parts of the museums educational activities. This is why it offers a varied programme of visits and workshops for pupils aged between 5 and 18. The activities are based on contemporary arts and the potential to stimulate the kid’s learning process. The museum is always exploring new possibilities and resources for students to perceive, feel, find meaning and share the art.
The activities for primary education are based on image, sound, body and movement that help contribute to a far-reaching artistic experience. On the other hand, the activities for secondary school students are based around reflection and debates between the students. Themes and artists linked to the analysis of contemporary society are chosen, and the students are encouraged to work in groups to debate around those themes.
In addition, teachers can choose to follow guided tours given by senior cultural volunteers.
The museum highly encourages and seeks the participation of young adults; therefore, they have created several attractive programs.
The first one, called <18 Programme, was created for kids aged 13 and above. It encourages young people to question, express their ideas, debate and participate in group dynamics. In this program, the kids will be asked to put together a creative proposal.
Moreover, for people aged between 16 and 20 years old, the museum offers a series of workshops with artists. In these workshops, the teens will take part on a collective creation, with the help of various artists, focusing on both the project to undertake and the resources it will take to execute. This is an enriching experience for the young adults, as well as for the artists. It explores social and dimensional dimensions of learning as well as fostering a collaboration.
Finally, the Equipo programme is aimed for teens between the age of 16 and 21.
This educational programme is held on different Saturdays, where the participants discover how the Museo is run, as well as having the opportunity to interview artists and taking part in debates and workshops. They can also take on the role of the educator for the <18 programme. They will gain a huge amount of experience that will allow them to act as an intermediate between the museum and other young people.
Children & families
With several workshops and activities offered for children and families, the museo’s aim is to encourage intergenerational encounters and dialogue between the groups of children and the adults participating. To make the museo’s collection more attractive to the kids, the workshops include music, dance, circus, film, and performance arts. The museum offers week long workshops that consist in collaboration between artists and educators. This allows the children to develop a creative project alongside an artist. The museum also offers the temporary museo-cinema, for kids aged 7 years old and older. This consist of a series of short films axed around the current exhibitions.
During your visit…
With over 20,000 paintings, you can easily feel overwhelmed in this museum! This is why we recommend you visit their website before. The Reina Sofia website allows you to plan your visit, depending on what artworks you want to see.
For a small extra cost, you can get an audio-guide (available in Spanish, English, French, Italian, Russian and German). These audio-guides give you complete information on the 1st collection: “The Irruption of the 21st Century: Utopias and Conflicts (1900–1945)” and help give you structure in your visit.
For larger groups, you can hire a guide that will talk to you throughwireless devices that enable interference-free explanations from guides and teachers and avoid the need for raised voices.
Your ticket is valid all day (except for exhibitions, where you have a precise entry slot), so you can take a break during your visit. Why don’t you go and enjoy one of the nice restaurants or cafes that the museum offers!
Also, don’t forget to take a sweater with you! Even if the weather in Madrid can get very hot, the temperature in the rooms have to be kept at a certain level in order to preserve the art. It can get chilly!
The museum is closed on Tuesdays, it is otherwise open from 10am to 9pm and 10am to 7pm on Sundays.
- By booking your tickets online, you will be able to skip the queue once there! This can be a good option, especially during the high season.
- To access the Museo as part of an organised group, a prior booking with the day and time of the visit is essential. Bookings can be made: online, by phoning +34 917 911 330, or by writing to the Visitor Assistance Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org