The Tortosa Museum opens the treasures of its reserve room to the public

Last September 29th marked the tenth anniversary of the recovery of the Museu de Tortosa. In 2012, Tortosa City Council fitted out several pavilions in the modernist building of the old municipal slaughterhouse, the work of Pau Monguió, so that the city could once again have the equipment, which until 1997 had been located in the old church of Sant Domènec. Since its recovery, the Museum has established itself as a reference space, not only to be able to show different elements that run through the history of Tortosa, ranging from the first settlers of prehistory to the present day, but also as a place where they have had place many cultural activities and promotion of the city.

To commemorate the event, Tortosa City Council has organized a series of activities this past weekend, such as guided tours of the Museum's reserve room, a space that is not normally open to the public. The reserve room is one of the most important spaces of the same museum center, since it is where they keep all the pieces of the important heritage collection and that are not part of the permanent exhibition. It has been, therefore, a good opportunity to get to know this heritage, almost "unprecedented" and unknown to the public.

Although it is true that the reserve room is not usually visited, the city does make it known among schoolchildren, to explain the work carried out by a museum, not only its exhibition function.

As explained by Núria Segarra, a technician from the Culture Department of the City Council of Tortosa and responsible for the museum's exhibitions, "many works are carried out in a museum that are not displayed, but that are its driving force, especially preventive conservation." For Segarra, "it is a luxury" to have this reserve room in the city. In total, there are more than 4,000 pieces. The archaeological ones are the most numerous.

The reserve room is a room designed essentially for the conservation of garments, in such a way that it maintains a stable temperature throughout the year, to avoid damage to the works. It also has a work space for archaeologists and researchers.

When a new piece arrives at the museum, the first thing the technicians do is mark it with a varnish (which can later be removed without leaving a trace if necessary), to date it and enter it in the database, which sends a copy to the Generalitat. In the room there are a good number of vertical and horizontal shelves and filing cabinets to keep all the pieces numbered and always locatable. Even in the boxes there is a photograph with the registration number and the site of origin. Inside the boxes, the pieces are protected with a specific material, similar to foam. The sculptures are also covered with melinex.

Among the pieces, the archaeological ones stand out, such as ancient funerary stelae. There is also a large collection of coins or more anecdotal elements such as signs of floods or lithographic plates to print the pesetas in Tortosa. Some pieces are still unknown today, such as the case of a relay with Sant Jordi and Princesa, of unknown origin.

Among the artistic pieces are works by Agustí Querol, Soriano Montagut, Jaime Rocamora, Frederic Mauri, Roberto Escoda or Ferran Arasa. There is also a work by Equipo Crónica and another by Carlos Mensa (who criticized Franco's "25 years of peace"), both winners of the Francesc Gimeno Painting Prize organized by the museum. The facility also receives some donations, such as a recent one for a portrait of Felip Pedrell by Agustí Fortuño. All this, a good example of the rich heritage of the Ebrense capital.

The Tortosa Museum, which will soon be expanded, houses and preserves more than 4,000 pieces

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