The National Museum of Roman Art is an institution created in 1838 by Royal Order, which is currently part of the Network of Museums of the General Subdirectorate of State Museums under the Ministry of Culture and Sport. The inauguration of its current place in 1986, in the building created by the architect Rafael Moneo, allowed the institution to project in a more adequate way its mission and objectives, with a public service of quality and excellence. Its collection is monographic about the ancient colony Augusta Emerita (Mérida) that became the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania. Therefore, its vocation is, on the one hand local, to be placed as a cultural engine of a population, Mérida, which barely has around 60,000 inhabitants. On the other hand, its scope of projection is national and international. National not only by its denomination and administrative dependence, but as a consequence of its institutional relations and scope of study, the Roman Hispania; and finally, its vocation is international, as a center of reference for Lusitania, it has made numerous cross-border projects and programs in collaboration with Portuguese related institutions. The Roman province of Lusitania covered the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, entering the territory of present-day Portugal.
The National Museum of Roman Art has a long history in non-formal education programs, both in the school setting and in the field of adult education. In the first of them, the «Educational Campaigns» stand out. They are offered throughout the school year for students of different educational levels, according to the annual program of activities of the Museum, associated with joint themes, temporary exhibitions and/or the Cycle Roman Festive. Also noteworthy are the Summer Workshops, which have been held at the Museum for more than 10 years, completing the summer offer during the holiday period. Finally, in the field of school education, highlights the annual celebration of the «Week of Science», whose history in the Museum is endorsed by its 30 editions, in which the goal is to publicize the scientific activity of the Museum, as well how to encourage future scientific vocations.
In the field of non-formal education in adults, the Museum develops broad programs mainly around two very defined lines of action:
– Scientific Culture Programs: Throughout the year scientific transfer activities are carried out aimed at training and education of adults, such as the Cycles of Conferences, Courses, Seminars and Workshops of a monographic nature.
– Training Programs: They are directed to Groups and Associations, that by their identity and vocation, develop specific programs in the Museum, to later become them drivers of the center’s own activities. In this area, there are two parallel lines of action:
· Group of Volunteers of the Museum. In collaboration with the Association of Friends of the Museum, the Cultural Volunteers are retired people who dedicate their free time to training through the program developed by the Museum for them and which allows them to subsequently act as “Cicerone”, that is, actively collaborate in the programs of the Museum, such as guided tours, thematic visits or dissemination programs such as «Being a Woman in Rome», «Week of Science», etc.
· Recreation Associations. One of the lines of work of the Department of Education and Cultural Action of the Museum is the use of specific methodologies for presentation of the Heritage, which can be included under the concept of «Historical Recreation». These programs advocate transcending through intangible heritage, word and gesture new meanings in the ancient culture. For its development, the involvement of civil society in its execution is fundamental, since one of the keys of the work is the role exercised by the so-called «Interpreters of History». The narrative model presents heritage as the result of human action. The personification of heritage implies understanding the mediating role exercised by material culture in the process of communication and understanding of History. For the development and execution of such programs, the Museum develops training programs for recreational entities, and in particular currently develops a program of joint activities with the Recreation Association “Ara Concordiae. Recreacionistas de la Mérida Romana”. This Association, which has more than 60 members between 6 and 80 years of age, with very different socio-demographic profiles, but where adult members with a low or very low level of education have a great weight.
The National Museum of Roman Art has a permanent staff of 55 workers. Of them, 9 are technicians of Museums in their different scales of the personnel dependent on the Ministry of Culture and Sport.