Geomining Museum of Madrid

Geomining Museum of Madrid : the genesis of Earth history

You think a geology museum is just a showcase for a few stones? Well, think again! What awaits you in Madrid is a veritable journey into the history of living beings! Discover the Geomining Museum of Madrid!

What’s a geology museum for?

It may sound very specific, but geology, or the study of rocks and the Earth, is much more than a passion for the rare curious. This field of archaeology is really about understanding what surrounds us on a daily basis, from materials of daily life to the history of animals and the development of industry and technology. Without using overly erudite terms, the Geomining museum of Madrid has succeeded in combining remarkable collections with a clear explanation of the history of Humanity. From the evolutionary patterns of species revealed by the discovery of fossils (traces of extinct animals frozen in stone), to precious stones and crystals, through dinosaur skeletons, the age of the items is astonishing.

Musée de géomine de Madrid - Calcita
Asturias crystal showcase

Spain, a pioneer in research

When it comes to studying rocks, Spain was quick to recognize the uniqueness of its territory, rich in prehistoric era’s testimony, extending as far back as the Paleolithic, the best-known period ; time of the dinosaurs.

The Enlightenment period showed a growing interest in all forms of knowledge, and Spain was no exception. Societies of enthusiasts were created, but it was a century later, under the reign of Isabel II of Spain, that a commission charged with drawing up a geological map of the kingdom was finally founded in 1849, with the aim of developing public works in the industrial age. The production of this map required 150 years of research and expeditions, and this is how the current museum collections came into being.

Geomining Museum of Madrid - Map

Geological map of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic and Canary Islands, © IGME

The creation of the museum

Today’s institution is run by the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME), and its aim is to preserve for future generations, as well as to study and publicize the diversity of its collections.


It was Queen Isabel II’s grandson, King Alfonso XIII, who inaugurated the site in the Chambéri district in the 1920s, in a building designed by Francisco Javier de Luque, typical of the scientific museums of the early 20th century.

As soon as you enter the building, the monumental staircase adorned with columns impresses, but it’s then in the main exhibition room that you’re left breathless: the central hall is huge, surrounded by balconies on several floors and lit by a large glass roof displaying the coats of arms of the Spanish mining regions and the kingdom, and no fewer than 250 carved wooden showcases are used to exhibit the rocks.

Musée de géomine de Madrid - Entrada

Musée de géomine de Madrid - Ventanas
Hall and stained glass windows of the imperial staircase

More than just rocks in the Geomining Museum of Madrid…

Minerals, diamants, bones and even meteorite remains are on display in the museum, to be appreciated not only for their aesthetic quality, but also for their rarity and the information they provide on the history of the Earth, and of the peninsula in particular.
For example, you can learn that there were species of dinosaurs and fish in the area that have now disappeared, or that Guadalajara, near Madrid, was the site of some very valuable mines.
Moreover, the “regionalist” showcases on the second balcony demonstrate the differences in color, material and brilliance between the stones of each Spanish territory, with Asturias containing more blue, yellow and green minerals, and Andalusia in more earthy tones.

Finally, rocks with special status, such as radioactive stones, are displayed in special cabinets. Historical fragments, such as those of the meteorite that caused the Big Bang and thus the disappearance of the dinosaur species, also attract attention.
In the first corridor, stained-glass windows depicting the terrestrial strata of various cities are also remarkable, making very concrete what exists beneath our feet.

Geomining Museum of Madrid - Screens

Stratigraphic stained glass windows from Alcala de Henares and Burgos, © IGME

Geomining Museum of Madrid is therefore a place where you can discover the vast history of beings, millions of years before the arrival of humans, and the tools that enable us to go further back in time to understand the richness of our planet. It’s a vertiginous experience, but also a source of wonder, all for free!

And if you’d like to find out more about the history of the more recent centuries that built Madrid’s capital, come and visit us at Puerta del Sol and discover our free tour Madrid !


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