The histological preparations are another of the great jewels of the Cajal Legacy.
Thanks to their optimal state of preservation, they can still be used today, becoming windows into the microscopic world of nerve tissue that served to create the 'Doctrina de la Neurona'.
Piezas del archivo
The Cajal Legacy, inventoried in 2008, consists of a total of 28,222 objects:
The Cajal Museum
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the Cajal Institute was bombed and part of it was destroyed. Francisco Tello and Fernando de Castro ensured that the center was not looted during the unrest of the conflict.
In 1945, the Institute was reopened after the reconstruction of the damaged areas and the creation of new departments. In addition, a museum was created to guard and exhibit Cajal's legacy. All the pieces (photographs, drawings, manuscripts, laboratory material, etc.) were part of the first Cajal Museum. The management of the center was carried out by the members of the center, without receiving any funding from the State.
With the transfer of the Cajal Institute to its current headquarters on Avenida Doctor Arce in Madrid and the laboratory extensions carried out in 1989, the museum collection was relegated to a small display located in the center's library, where a very limited and careful selection of historical pieces is exhibited, recreating Cajal's workplace with some of his original belongings.
The rest of the assets that make up the Cajal Legacy are protected and conserved in a secure room with controlled humidity and temperature, while awaiting an appropriate exhibition space so that all of it can be exhibited in a future national museum dedicated to the figure of Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Spanish Neurohistological School.
The permanent exhibition of the Cajal Legacy in a stable national museum is a demand of the Cajal Institute, Spanish society and the international scientific community, who have been insisting for decades on the need to preserve and disseminate the value of the research work of Santiago Ramón y Cajal and of those scientists who, in truly precarious conditions, managed to put our country at the top of the world scientific map.
The future National Museum of Cajal and the Spanish Neurohistological School would also serve as a reference center for the interpretation and teaching of the history of Spanish neuroscience which, in short, is the history of neuroscience worldwide, since thanks to Cajal and his disciples, Spain was a pioneer in the study of the brain.
Semi-permanent' exhibition at the MNCN-CSIC
Since November 2020, the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) is hosting a 'semi-permanent' exhibition on the Cajal Legacy.The exhibition, which occupies an area of 120 square meters, displays more than a hundred carefully selected pieces including twelve original drawings, the Nobel medal and his first laboratory diary.
The exhibits include oil paintings, photographs, drawings, laboratory material, instruments, scientific notebooks, awards and distinctions, as well as a set of personal objects and non-scientific books that show the humanistic facet of the genius from Petilla de Aragón.
The sample collected for this exhibition is a small example of what could be, in the future, the monographic museum dedicated to the father of Neuroscience and the Spanish Histological School. A museum that deserves the most relevant figure of Spanish science and that would finally fulfill the desire expressed by Cajal himself to preserve his scientific legacy in his own Institute, and the intention of his children to turn it into a museum that would serve as a teaching and stimulus for future generations.
Information and inquiries
For further information, inquiries, requests for reproductions, management of reports or arranged visits (on an individual basis and for scientific purposes only), please contact Professor Juan Andrés de Carlos, head of the Cajal Legacy: