As you may have guessed, I’m one of those “museum visitors.” I’ve found that exploring the local museums provides a quick course on the culture of the area. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised at the comprehensive collection in the Alicante Archaeological Museum, often referred to simply as MARQ.

Not every town has a museum. Some museums are not kept up well, leaving me with the impression that everything could use a cleanup overnight. That was not the case with MARQ. The museum is pristine, well-constructed, and the lighting is both atmospheric and designed to emphasize the richness of the local culture. Most of the exhibits are behind glass, but I think that helps protect the artifacts as well as the comprehensive display signs. Most of the signs are in Valenciano and Spanish, but there may be guides to the museum in English as well.

This museum is significant in its comprehensive treatment of the rich history of the area. Similar to my visit to Elche in 2022, Alicante’s focus on displaying its history proudly and effectively made visiting the museum a pleasant excursion. There are also a number of multimedia displays that helped place the artifacts into a more relatable context.

The building itself is impressive, having formerly been the site of the hospital San Juan de Díos. There’s a lot of space, and there’s a lot to see, too. MARQ is structured into a set of halls connected to a main “spine.” Each hall contains collections related to different eras in the area’s history. From the lighting to the cases of the exhibits to the large screens displaying recreated scenes of the time period, each era is an impressive collection of artifacts.

Similarly, the “spine” hall contains several outstanding exhibits, too. You can see an entire ship, recreated buildings and rooms, and atmospheric representations of life during multiple eras. Overall, the detail applied to lighting, displays, and structural elements of the museum set this location apart from many other museums I have visited.

In the photos below, I have tried to give you a quick survey of the overall museum experience. However, there is so much to see here that I had a hard time covering it all in a single visit. Museum fatigue is a real thing, and I would like to explore a museum this comprehensive in a different way, over several days and exploring several eras in detail.

Personally, I enjoyed the prehistoric, Roman, and Moorish eras of Alicante. The use of art in everyday life was apparent through the artifacts on display. Whether it is the colorful glaze on a bowl, the ceramics chosen for floor and wall tiling, or details found in coins and jewelry, the cultures reflected an appreciation of creativity.

If you visit the area, definitely give this museum a look if you are interested in learning more about Alicante.

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