At midday today at the Àgora Agbar in Cornellà, the Agbar Foundation held an institutional event celebrating International Museum Day, focussing on the future of museums, at which Angel Simón, Agbar’s Chairman and CEO, announced the start of renovation works for the new Museu Agbar de les Aigües, which will cover the whole Central Cornellà space, with a new museum garden open to the public.
At the event, Angel Simón, Chairman and CEO of Agbar, stressed the Agbar Group’s intentions to develop a new museum that, in its own idiosyncratic way ‘aspires to a role that connects to the new trend in museum design: acting as a generator of a new urban reality, contributing to the regeneration of its environment, while also providing a testimony of the reality we have been building with over almost 150 years’ specialisation in the complete water cycle. With this new museum, we aim to excite and convey to the public and future generations our passion for water’.
He also stressed ‘the value of the conjunction between the public and private spheres’, and announced that the new museum will cover the whole of the Central Cornellà space and include a new museum garden, open to the public. Martí Boada, with a PhD in Environmental Sciences and researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona will be responsible for integrating the garden into the museum. The refurbishment work for the new Museu Agbar de les Aigües is expected to start in the second half of 2017. In addition, Angel Simón explained that ‘new technologies have opened the way to museums without walls, which can be accessed anywhere and at any time. And this is what we intend to do with the new Museu Agbar de les Aigües: turn it into a space where visitors can build their own imaginary museum’.
For his part, Ignacio Esudero, General Manager of Aigües de Barcelona, stressed the importance of the Museu Agbar de les Aigües to the company: ‘Each year at the museum we offer around 18,000 visiting school children an environmental education that contributes significantly to raising public awareness of the need for responsible use of water. Partly thanks to this, the towns supplied by Aigües de Barcelona have some of the lowest consumption rates in Europe, at around 100 litres per inhabitant per day, the amount considered basic by the World Health Organization’.
In his intervention, Jusèp Boya, the Director-General for Archives, Libraries, Museums and Heritage of the Government of Catalonia, stressed the importance of the museum and heritage centres to Catalonia’s tourism offer and its image abroad. In terms of future challenges, he highlighted the need to include in the offer the heritage associated with new citizens and sectors that are historically under-represented in museums, such as women, as well as attracting new publics and opening museums in regions with no such facilities.
During the event, a talk was held to discuss the future of museums, with the involvement of Pepe Serra, director of the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), Rosalia Vargas, President of Ciência Viva in Portugal, the national agency for scientific and technological culture, and Rosa Avellà, head of Grifols’ History Department.
Presentation of the Museu Agbar de les Aigües app
The event also saw the presentation of the ‘Origen’ app, an interactive game that blends real experience and fiction and lets users discover the museum in a completely new way, based on iBeacon technology and gamebooks, the interactive ‘choose your own adventure’ comics of the 21st century. Using the application, the public will star in their own interactive adventure that starts at home and continues in the Museu Agbar de les Aigües.
This is a pioneering experience in Catalan museums and is the result of the Museu Agbar de les Aigües’ desire to attract a young public and make a different and innovative way of visiting the museum available to all visitors through the potential of new technologies.
The interactive game was developed by a start-up company in Igualada called Cubus Games, as a result of their involvement in HackatH2On at the Museu Agbar de les Aigües, which they won. This activity took place in March last year, as part of World Water Day, inviting 75 creative minds to develop innovative phone apps to bring the public closer to the world of water and the Museu Agbar de les Aigües.