In order to understand the societies of today –societies that are so simple in some ways and so complex in many others–, there is no better way than taking a look into yesteryear, especially when we speak of a culture like the Basque culture, which has such a unique, rooted identity. There is only one place in the Basque Country that is devoted to analyzing the region from the perspective of a museum on society: San Telmo Museoa. This center tackles Basque history, ways of life, and culture through its permanent exhibition, which includes different sections, such as: Huellas en la memoria (“Memory Traces”), Despertar de la modernidad (“Awakening of Modernity”), and Los desafíos de nuestra sociedad (“The Challenges of our Society”). The first section goes through the most relevant milestones that have had an influence on the Basque as a people – from prehistory to the eighteenth century. It includes pieces that reveal a shift from an economy based on hunting to one based on agriculture, as well as funerary steles, medieval weapons, naval tools, and scientific objects from the Renaissance period.
The section entitled Despertar de la modernidad (“Awakening of Modernity”) shows how the way of life transformed from that of a rural community to become more urban and industrialized. Consumer goods, the incorporation of women into the public sphere, urban expansion, and ideological and cultural movements are some of the keys of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that are analyzed in this part of the museum.
Los desafíos de nuestra sociedad (“The Challenges of our Society”) addresses the current challenges of the Basque Country through audiovisual materials, emphasizing the ability of the individual to intervene in the world surround them and thus participate in the construction of their future. These videos are shown in the oldest part of the museum – in the church of the San Telmo Dominican Convent, which dates back to the sixteenth century.
San Telmo is also the only museum of San Sebastian with a Fine Arts area – a field of art that is a faithful reflection of social change. The collection includes a sampling of international art from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, as well as an area especially dedicated to Basque art from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
In addition to the permanent collection that tackles the development of Basque culture, the museum puts on temporary exhibitions throughout the year whose subject matter varies, and it also has an intense program of activities that look to the present and the future of society.
San Telmo Museoa
Plaza Zuloaga 1, San Sebastián.
Tel.: +34 943 481 580