The Museum of Ideas and Inventions, MIBA, whose official name in Catalan is Museu d’Idees e Invents, is one of the most original, interesting and fun museums in Barcelona, which makes it an ideal place to go with children. In spite of being located on a narrow street that isn’t frequented by many people, its central location and its novel theme has given it a place amongst the most striking museums for people who live in Barcelona and for visitors, with the help of a little word of mouth recommendation.
The museum is closed since January 2017.
The Museum of Ideas and Inventions is a special kind of museum, and this is evident from the moment you enter it. An example of this are the large scales on the street itself, which attract the attention of everyone who walks past. If you weight yourself on them, they will show your weight, comparing it to that of several well-known people. When you walk through the door you will continue to see that the MIBA is a different kind of museum, as there are various informative signs which actually encourage all visitors to take photos, which is of course something that is often prohibited in other museums.
Another element of the Museum of Ideas and Inventions that attracts attention is that on its ground floor some of the collection’s inventions are exhibited free of charge, which serves to attract first-time visitors who might be more sceptical about visiting the museum. On the same floor, and before getting to the ticket office, you’ll find a Force One Hurricane Simulator, inside which you’ll experience winds of 127 km/h, which is without doubt worth a visit.
A part of the MIBA’s collection, which is divided up throughout the building’s two floors and which has a huge amount of exhibits, is being renovated. The inventions are categorized into three spaces: Unlimited Society, Reflectionarium and the Corner of the Absurd. You’ll probably feel that some of the inventions are in fact quite useless, whereas some are funny and others are very interesting, whose use could make day-to-day tasks much easier. What can’t be doubted is that all of them are reflections of the ingenuity of their inventors.
The information about the inventions that are exhibited is shown in Spanish, Catalan and English, and in the majority of cases it’s accompanied by a digital display containing a video of the invention in action, something that is very eye-catching and educational, in order to see better how it works and whether you think it’s useful or not.
One of the most interesting things that attracts your attention isn’t in fact in the museum itself, but in the ladies and gents toilets. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but to give you a hint, let’s just say that inside there is a TV screen! ;)
Inventions that have made money
No doubt in order to encourage you to discover your hidden inventive abilities, the Reflectionarium area shows all the inventions that have made money for their inventors.
- Device that shaves your head: this little machine has an interesting design that allows you to shave your head quickly and easily.
- Anti-phone coverage serviette: ideal for covering your mobile phone whilst eating to ensure it doesn’t have coverage (although thinking about it, another option would of course be to switch it off or put it on silent mode).
- Adaptable glasses: they have two points at which you can add a liquid to the membrane, which allows you to adjust the strength of the glasses.
Some of the more useful inventions
- A cup with a separate compartment for biscuits: it sounds silly but actually it isn’t at all, because the small compartment underneath the cup means that you can walk around with the cup and the biscuits together.
- Tripod that fits on bottle lids: due to his difficulty in taking photos when he didn’t have his professional tripod with him the photographer Roun Uriel invented this practical device which allows you to put up a tripod, just with the help of a (full) bottle.
- Golf ball fetcher: the use of this invention facilitates the collection of golf and tennis balls after a game, something we’re sure fans and ground staff alike will appreciate.
Some of the stranger inventions
- Gloves for lovers: these are two gloves that are linked so that the two lovebirds can continue holding hands while wearing them, thus keeping their hands super-warm.
- Cushion with remote control: the invention that the laziest viewers have been waiting for! There’s a remote control for the television integrated into this cushion.
- Móvil con analizador de alcohol: la explicación que acompaña al invento informa que resulta ideal para, en caso de haber bebido, bloquear el móvil y así evitar que uno llame a su ex a las tantas de la mañana.
- Mobile phone with integrated breathalyser: the explanation that accompanies this invention says that it’s perfect for people who have perhaps had a few drinks, as it can measure this and put a temporary block on your mobile phone to stop you phoning your ex in the early hours of the morning.
- Vending machine equipped with pedals: this invention allows you to burn the calories you’ve consumed from the product you’ve just bought in the vending machine. It shows the number of calories that each product contains, and the time it’ll take you to burn them by pedalling.
The funniest inventions
The Funventions area exhibits the funniest inventions. We should say that not all of them are particularly useful, but looking at them will definitely make you laugh.
- Flowerpot that looks for the sun: the small solar panels that are installed in this flowerpot with wheels means that it can search the sunshine and face it at all times.
- Paper streamer recycler: we can’t really see why this invention is very useful, which is probably part of its quirkiness, but it allows you to roll up paper streamers ready for re-use. We also don’t know how long it could take!!
- Bar stools for cyclists: we’re not sure whether cyclists would really want to sit on a saddle in a bar after several hours pedalling, but these bar stools would give them the chance to do so if they wish!.
The museum’s shop
In the shop it’s possible to buy some of the inventions that are exhibited in the museum, as well as books related to the inventions and a multitude of weird and whacky objects that you probably won’t be able to resist buying.
Children are important visitors to the museum, and this is clear from the Minimiba area, where some inventions that have been designed by children are displayed. There are also various elements designed to make the visit more fun for the youngest visitors: a toboggan that joins the first floor with the basement, an interactive screen where children can play games and a children’s workshop where they can paint and keep themselves occupied while parents carry on with the visit to the museum.
c/ (street) Ciutat 7, Barcelona
Tuesdays to Fridays: 10:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00.
Saturdays: 10:00 to 20:00.
Sundays and public holidays: 10:00 to 14:00.
Special opening hours: 24th December and 5th January from 10:00 to 19:00. 31st December from 10:00 to 17:00. 6th January from 10:00 to 20:00.
Closed: Every Monday, 25th and 26th December, and 1st January.
General admission: 8€.
Concessions: 6€ for children between the ages of 4 and 12, students, the unemployed, senior citizens, school groups, Esplais (a Catalan equivalent of the scout movement), and groups and associations with over 15 people attending.
Other discounts: Carnet Jove, holders of a Barcelona library card, TR3SC, Club Súper 3, Barcelona Card, GoCar, Barcelona Bus Turistíc ticket holders, Racc Master and RaKK 4u.
Free of charge: children under the age of 4 years old.
How to get there?
Metro: Jaume I (line 4).
Buses: Lines 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 77A, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453 and tourist bus.
By foot: Just a short walk from La Rambla and the Plaza Catalunya, you can arrive on foot from anywhere in the heart of the city centre.