Museum of Royal Seminary of Bergara

In olden times, the levels of literacy and instruction were much lower than current ones and, rather than something normal or common, it was quite exceptional to have a centre of high-level instruction in the town. This is the case of Bergara: from the end of the 16th century, the plot of the Royal Seminary has held relevant teaching and scientific institutions. Its origins lie in the renowned school that the Society of Jesus founded, built and governed in Bergara (1503-1767); this was one of only nine schools that the Jesuits created in the Basque Country


Later, at the end of the 18th century, the Seminary was one of the most famous scientific research poles in Europe and in its facilities a chemical element was discovered -Wolfram- as well as the method to make platinum malleable.


During the 19th century, the Royal Seminary stood out for having been the Instituto Superior Guipuzcoano –the first and for decades the only Institute in the region- and also, in the middle of the century, an Industrial College, the only industrial college to exist in the Basque Country. Therefore, Bergara is the birthplace of science in the Basque country as it held throughout the 18th and 19th centuries its most important scientific and educational institution: the Royal Seminary. We currently conserve 3,012 pieces from its varied collections and laboratories. These objects are distributed in five sections: scientific instruments, anatomy models, zoology, mineral and fossil collections. Bergara Town Council has carried out a huge amount of work in order to recover this unique collection. The scientific pieces have been ordered, documented, researched, classified and restored, which means the collection from the Royal Seminary is now ready to be exhibited at the Museum. The Museum will make the optimum social use of its collections. Based on the past, the Museum will look to the future. Its objective will consist of remembering and reliving the splendour of the Seminary’s historic-scientific career, to encourage an interest for science and boost scientific culture. With the Museum, we will discover that science, technology and innovation have been development agents in our past, and we will contribute to creating a favourable climate for them to continue to be so in the future. Furthermore, the Museum will be a top rate tourist asset. Let’s not forget that, although it is true that our town has a rich historic-artistic heritage, the Royal Seminary and its unique and varied scientific collection are the elements that make Bergara unique.