MADRID, SPAIN. El Rastro, Madrid’s neighborhood famous for its Sunday flea market of the same name, has a brand new attraction: the Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares (Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions). The museum occupies a renovated nineteenth-century apartment building, also known as a corrala. Corralas, which using to accommodate the working classes, are characterized by several floors of open galleries surrounding a common courtyard. The ground floor used to house workshops and stores, with dwellings above.
The museum draws on an extensive collection of folk art, both rural and urban, from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Only part of the collection has been mounted so far, with other exhibits in preparation. You can currently see an exhibit of clothing, art and everyday objects that were used during Spain’s annual festival cycle. From vibrant carnival costumes to giant papier-mâché figures of notable Spaniards, paraded yearly during Spain’s celebration of Corpus Christi, all the items are carefully curated.
The upstairs gallery, in turn, presents examples of popular artistry, including embroidery, lacework, blacksmithing, basketry, ceramics and hand-made musical instruments.
After your visit, you can continue the popular arts trail and poke around in the dozens of antique and vintage furniture shops lining the streets. On weekdays, the neighborhood has a mellow vibe, at once a time-warp and a photographer’s dream.
MUSEO DE ARTES Y TRADICIONES POPULARES
Calle Carlos Aniches 3-5
Calle Santa Isabel 52
Tel. +34 914 976 502
Metro: La Latina.
Mon-Fri: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5-8 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Closed on Sundays.
Admission is free.