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Salvador’s Cabinet

The Salvador family was a well-known family of apothecaries from Barcelona, who developed their work around naturalism between the 16th and 19th centuries. They collected samples in the Iberian Peninsula and in the Balearic Islands, creating one of the first scientific botanical gardens in Sant Joan Despi (Barcelona) while keeping correspondence and exchanges of books and objects with naturalists of great importance at that time such as Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, James Petiver, Herman Booerhave or the Jussieu brothers.

As a result of the intense work of various generations, the Salvadors created a scientific cabinet, which was placed in the back room of their old pharmacy, located at the intersection of Ample and Fusteria streets. The cabinet was formed by a magnificent library, a herbarium (the oldest known in Spain), handwritten documents, collections of molluscs, fossils, drugs and several pieces of vegetables and stuffed animals.

In the 19th century, the cabinet was moved to a villa (masia) owned by the family in the Penedès district, where it remained unnoticed until Pius Font i Quer managed to find it in 1923. Following this discovery, the efforts of the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (IBB) focused on moving the collection to its premises, which occurred between 1938 and 1945. Nevertheless, parts of the cabinet had still been lost. In 2013, during the preparation of the exhibition Salvadoriana, the Exhibition Department of the Museu Nacional de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona found a portion of this collection, unknown until then. In the summer of 2013 the City Council proceeded to its purchase, and was moved to the IBB facilities to be reunited with the rest of the collection.

Currently, the visit to the original Salvador’s Cabinet is included in the itinerary of the Salvadoriana temporary exhibition. For security reasons and to ensure proper preservation, the entry into the cabinet is not allowed and the collection must be observed through the security glass protecting it.