Tibidabo Museum of Automata
Museo de Autómatas del Tibidabo
Barcelona is a city that can surprise visitors at any time. It is difficult to find someone who grew up in the city and that has not visited the Tibidabo amusement park, who does not know the Tranvia Blau (Blue Tram) or the funicular railway that goes up to the mountain. Anyone who has visited the park, has also visited the fabulous Tibidabo Museum of Automata.
What they may not know the vast majority of Barcelonans, is that this is one of the most important museums of automatons in the world, making it a worldwide reference.
The museum displays over 40 automatons dating from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, preserved in perfect condition and except those being repaired, they all are absolutely functional.
Those children of the late nineteenth century, they had to insert a coin or token, to delight and enjoy the show that a machine could offer. At a time when cinemas were a luxury for the lucky ones, these automata offered a visual and emotional spectacle, which may be surprising even today.
The automata that are exposed in the museum no longer require the insertion of a coin. The dream of children of the late nineteenth century is fulfilled for museum visitors, because instead of introducing a coin to operate the mechanism, they simply has to press a button and .... voila! The automaton starts up.
Some of the automata presented in this magnificent museum of Barcelona can even draw attention due to its thematic. Two of the pieces shows the execution of a capital punishment, in both cases they shows the execution of a person. While one uses the system of the French guillotine (French Execution - England, 1921), the other uses a gallow and represents the execution of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen (Execution of Crippen - England, 1921).
Many of the exposed automata follow a circus thematic and aesthetic, besides being very elaborate and very rich in detail. The Funambulists automaton built by Auguste Triboulet for the Vichy company in 1913, is just one example.
Dioramas and scale models in the museum of automata
Besides automatons, the museum exposes dioramas and models related to the Tibidabo amusement park thematic. They are also launched by pressing a button and are truly amazing. Young children undoubtedly will enjoy making these models work by simply pressing the button when the green light is turned on.
Due to the quality of the models, it is impossible to emphasize some in front of others and they deserve all the same attention, but to name a few of them, we have the ski resort (1951) built at the workshops of the Tibidabo amusement park, with skaters or a chairlift running, the roller coaster of an amusement park (also the work of the same workshops) or one double wheel with jets on its top (Magic Wheels) by an unknown author.
The Tibidabo funicular railway has also a place in the museum and is represented by a model manufactured by the workshops of the amusement park in 1941 that can be started like all the other.
In fact, in the museum there is a model representing the whole Tibidabo amusement park.
For all audiences
It is a museum in which every age will enjoy at his way. The younger will discover circus figures, some with some creepy trait that will call their attention. Adults will feel the same curiosity and want to find out about the movement that will be performed by the automata and how it behaves. Older, perhaps remember some fairs when they were children.
It is a small museum, whose visit may take from twenty minutes to over an hour, depending on how the visitor is playing with the machines.
If you are going with children it is almost forced to spend the entire day in the park. If you go only adults, in addition to this option, you can take advantage of the views of the city of Barcelona offered by the mountain of Tibidabo and have a coffee or a drink, and visit the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is at the Tibidabo Amusement Park door.
How to get to the Tibidabo Museum of Automata
The museum is in the amusement park, so you will have to go up the mountain in order to visit it. In the article on the Tibidabo Amusement Park you will find instructions for get the park, as well as on their website.
However from HappyBarcelona.eu we recommend for those who are in Plaça Catalunya, take the FGC to Av. Tibidabo station. Once there, on the JFK Square cross the street to the mountain and take the Tamvia Blau (Blue Tram), which will leave you at the funicular railway that goes the Cami del Cel (Sky Road), which is the outer part of the amusement park.
It must be said that the price of the Blue Tram and the Tibidabo Funicular Railway, are not governed according to the ordinary fares of Barcelona transport, being leisure and tourism transport.
For a cheaper option, also for those who are in Plaça Catalunya, is go to the Tibidabo using the Tibibus.
Park admission includes access to the Museum of Automata, however, at the box office the you can purchase a ticket only for the museum which is very cheap.
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