History

History

The Capellades Paper Mill Museum is located in the town of Capellades (60 km from Barcelona, Spain) in an old 18th Century paper mill known as the "Molí de la Villa". The building has a surface area of 2200 m² spread over four floors and a cellar.
Next to the "Molí" is "La Bassa": a natural source of water from which flowed twelve million litres a day. This was used to drive the sixteen paper mills which operated in this area.

Thanks to this abundance of water and its geographical location (close to large scale population centres with good infrastructures), Capellades, and the surrounding towns of La Pobla de Claramunt, Carme, Sant Pere de Riudebitlles, etc, became one of the most important centres of paper production in Spain during the 18th and 19th Centuries. The paper from this area, especially its deckled paper and cigarette papers, provided the bulk of the market in Spain and its American colonies. From the period towards the end of the eighteenth century, come the names of well-known papermakers such as Soteras, Romeu or Guarro, and especially Serra and Romaní whose brands acquired an international reputation.

Within this rich historical papermaking tradition, the Capellades Paper Mill Museum was founded, in 1958, by a group of industrial papermakers who were in the vanguard of what today is known as industrial archaeology. Thanks to donations of machinery, sundry items and financial help from different paper companies and publishers in Catalonia and the rest of Spain, the museum was opened on 6th July 1961. Today the museum is managed by a board comprising different institutions: the Capellades Town Hall, the Association of Historical Paper Studies, the Anoia County Council and the Science and Technology Museum of Catalonia.

From its beginnings, the Museum was conceived as both a museum and a paper mill which would unify and complement the dissemination of our historic and industrial heritage, thanks to the continuation, in the building, of the manufacture of paper by hand.

The Capellades Paper Mill Museum is an unusual museum, both due to its dual role as a museum and a working paper mill, as well as its economic management, which is almost self-financing; producing some 60-70% of its costs. Our institution then, represents a clear example of the so-called "Economuseum", defined by Cyril Simard in his work “How to Make Cultural Enterprises Profitable”, in which he outlines how, in addition to its income from visitors, a cultural entity can become self financing by commercialising the craft-based product it produces. This is perhaps the aspect that makes our Museum particularly remarkable.