The Ethnographic Museum of Grandas de Salime is one of the most unique museums in Spain. And it is because in its own way it has been a pioneer in rescuing for public exhibition objects and tools of a rural life that were often outside the museum motifs and were not interested in collectors. It occupies what was the old Rectoral House of Grandas, which was rehabilitated for this purpose, conserving the popular architecture. In this large building, nostalgia for things that many knew is combined with the astonishment of so many young generations who have little idea of how they managed in the rural world. There are also those in charge of analyzing and protecting the heritage, who come to the museum to take note. The idea of José Mª Naveiras Escanlar, known as «Pepe the Ferreiro», has been well received by everyone since he got involved in this foray into time, back in the 1984 year. It is about a lover of his land that has been gathering and studying numerous samples of popular crafts for more than thirty years.
What does the Grandas Museum treasure?
Memories, scholars and profane alike enjoy this untold maremagnun of things that end up becoming solid facts of another time. Not in vain is one of the most visited museums in Asturias with an 20.000 annual visits. Store and expose more than 3.000 traditional instruments of all kinds, and it grows every year, or every day, with continued contributions from individuals and administrations that make it a living organism, with its skeleton, joints, muscles and vital organs in permanent change. Its border location between Galician and Asturian lands it enriches this permanent legacy even more. On both sides, goods are arriving to collaborate in the collective memory of a large, orographically complicated and culturally very prolific region.
Everything is distributed in the different rooms of the house: kitchen, tool store, distillery, bedroom, stables and auxiliary buildings such as hórreo and panera. The inanimate objects take on a certain life and meaning grouped by themes, activities or specific places of the rural habitat and the traditional house. On the first floor we are the "lareira" or kitchen, habitual place for the little leisure that the people of the field had. Along with the household trousseau, the benches stand out in the «lareira», with their attached table; the oven with its utensils, kneading trough, the conqueiro, espeteira or basal, with the shelves that house the crockery, mostly made of wood; the “trobo da colada”, a hollowed-out chestnut tree trunk that, placed on the “dala” or “coladoiro”, was used to wash clothes by cooking ashes and passing it through the clothes inside the trobo.
En the loom room, destined to the textile industry, we discovered the tools to make the wool, the linen and two loom looms. We pass from this dependence to room or room, place that served as a common bedroom and dining room for the days of celebration that brought together several neighbors. A sober furniture consisting of two iron beds, a table, chairs, stools, a sink, a chest for clothes, oil lamps, photos of the ancestors and pictures of sacred images.
On the staircase that leads to the ground floor we stumbled two important collections: one of yokes and another of zapicos, for the sharpening stone the scythe. At the end of the staircase, already on the ground floor, a small shoe shop with the tools of two shoemakers in the town. To the left we enter a wine cellar with an authentic smell of oenological tradition. In front of us the door is opened by which we access the multipurpose room, which has on the left the forge and carpentry In the background to the right, a whole room dedicated to wooden footwear. Folk medicine instruments, weights and measures, hunting, fishing, beekeeping tools ... are available in this same room.
Other works of the museum
The museum carries out research work in crops and crafts that he intends to recover, with live demonstrations of the work of torneiro, ferreiro, madreñeiro, cesteiro, handicraft of the loom, and many other activities.
Strolling through this museum is to participate, refresh the memory for some and imagine what was never known to others. When we focus our attention on something in particular, we gradually assimilate its function, based on common sense or explanations; we understand then that everything was already invented, however rustic the ingenuities of another time may be. The constant depopulation of the field, the change in the forms of work and the means of production propitiated the almost disappearance of these instruments that we see and that our eyes, thanks to the museum, manage to get out of oblivion for a long time.
The trunk of memories it safeguards a small portion of generational emotion, and could well serve as a scale simile for this immense rural treasure chest that is the museum. Old photographs illustrate habits, ways of life, family relationships, economies at the first change, but if we surround them with the materials and elements that made the lives of our ancestors possible, the portrait ceases to be a distant entity and becomes real and contemporary sense. Observing the past in Grandas de Salime serves to fill the present of our visit with content and archive in our experience a history that belongs to us.
Hours of the Grandas de Salime Ethnographic Museum
WINTER (January - April and October - December)
· Tuesday to Friday: from 11:00 a.m. to 14:00 p.m. and from 16:00 p.m. to 18:30 p.m.
· Saturdays: from 11:00 a.m. to 14:30 p.m. and 16:00 p.m. to 18:30 p.m.
· Sundays and holidays: from 11:00 a.m. to 15:00 p.m.
SUMMER (May - September)
· Tuesday to Saturday: from 11:00 a.m. to 14:30 p.m. and 16:00 p.m. to 20:00 p.m.
· Sundays and holidays: from 11:00 a.m. to 15:00 p.m.
· Thursday to Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 14:30 p.m. and 16:00 p.m. to 19:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 15:00 p.m.
· Every Monday of the year.
· Sundays and holidays late.
· January 1 and 6.
December 24, 25 and 31.
Source: Ethnographic Museum of Grandas de Salime.
Avda. Del Ferreiro, 17
33730, Grandas de Salime
Contact number: 985 627 243
More information: Museum of Grandas de Salime
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com