Museum of Natural Sciences Álava

Museum of Natural Sciences Álava

The MCNA opened its doors to the public in 1986, alongside the Aldabe city gate in the old low wall of Vitoria-Gasteiz’s old quarter, in the Tower of Doña Ochanda, a 15th century stronghold that defended the western wall and rebuilt in the 16th century by Don Andrés Martínez de Iruña for his daughter Doña Ochanda. Restructured and enlarged in the 1980s, it has housed the Museum of Natural Sciences Álava since 1986.

Museum of Natural Sciences Álava

   c/ Fundadoras de las Siervas
         de Jesús, 24
         01001 Vitoria-Gasteiz

 +34 945 181924

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During its 36 years of existence, the MCNA has amassed more than 612,000 pieces that form 22 specific collections which, in turn, are grouped into 7 general collections. The geographical scope is fundamentally territorial and regional, although some pieces fall within a national or international framework of reference. The museum currently manages the largest, most documented natural history collection in the Basque Country and areas of influence.

Most notable among its collections is the VIT Herbarium, both for its phanerogamic and cryptogamic components, as well as its insect collection, boasting more than half a million specimens between the two collections. Featured among Earth sciences and evolutionary history of life are its Iberian topographical mineralogy collections, as well as those concerning the systematic study of the most relevant palaeontological deposits in the surrounding areas (amber deposits in Peñacerrada, Mesozoic marine life, dinosaurs and other late Cretaceous vertebrates from the Basque-Cantabrian Basin, Tertiary vertebrates from Zambrana, Tertiary footprints from Salinas de Añana, Tertiary marshland flora and fauna from Izarra...).

The computerisation of all its records and the systematic rigour with which the various collections have been structured make the MCNA a true reference for knowledge about life and the evolutionary history of life in the Basque-Cantabrian Basin and areas of influence.

The exhibition rooms are arranged on the first three floors of the museum. The ground floor houses a substantial sample of our Historical Territory’s Mesozoic amber deposits, as well as amber from numerous other provinces (La Rioja, Burgos, Navarre, Teruel, Palencia, Castellón, Cantabria, Asturias...) and other parts of the world (Baltic amber, Chiapas, Borneo, Santo Domingo, France, USA, Russia…).

The first floor, dedicated entirely to Earth Sciences, features a wide range of palaeontology, petrology and mineralogy exhibits, while the second floor houses the zoology and botany collections. This second floor also has two rooms used for temporary exhibitions, one of which is for graphic and photographic exhibitions.