Salvador’s Cabinet

The Salvador family was a well-known family of apothecaries from Barcelona, who developed their work around naturalism between the 17th 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. In 2014 the collection was cataloged, all the materials were reviewed and restored, and preventive conservation mesures were carried out. Finally, the history of the Cabinet and the family that formed it was shown in the Salvadoriana temporary exhibition that took place from 2014 to 2016.


How to visit
  • Site: it is currently exposed on the ground floor of the IBB, where the public can visited it. 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. The visit is included within the entrance of the Botanical Garden of Barcelona (JBB).
  • Access: entrance at the Barcelona Botanical Graden ticket office: Carrer Dr. Font i Quer (on the corner with Passeig Olímpic), Montjuïc Park, 30 minutes after the opening of the exhibition until 30 minutes before it closes.
  • Schedule: Tuesday to Sunday (Monday closed):
    • November, December and January: 10 to 17h
    • February and March: 10 to 18h
    • April, May, September and October: 10 to 19h
    • June, July and August: 10 to 20h
To know more
  • Audiovisual (available online): produced in 2016 with the aim of bringing together in a single document all the work carried out in order to adapt the Cabinet material and have it inventoried for the Salvadorian exhibition. The tasks of restoration, documentation, revision and digitization, the acquisition of the missing elements in the collection, the history of the Cabinet, the Salvadorian exhibition and the adequacy of the room for its opening to the public are explained.
  • Manual Salvador (available online): compilation of all the work carried out on the Salvador collection was prepared, both from the point of view of research in the history of this cabinet over time, as well as preventive conservation, restoration, revision, cataloging and research on specimens; and published in 2019 within the collection Manuals del Museu.
  • Database: published on the online in April 2020 in the platform Museu Obert where it is possible to see all the specimens and the main fields of each object in a very visual way.