All visitors are welcome to the Albacete Municipal Museum of Knives and Cutting Tools. The Museum opened its doors for the first time on the 6th of September, 2004. It is located in an antique building with an eclectic style, known as Casa de Hortelano (Hortelano’s House), built in 1912 by architect Daniel Rubio.
The two main objectives of this project were, on the one hand, the renovation of a beautiful modernist building, located in the heart of the city and very striking for its unusual facade. On the other hand, the city of Albacete, Known for its knife making tradition, has a museum to preserve and conserve its historical legacy and a place to recover and spread its cultural heritage. And also, Albacete has a place to promote the knife making sector by a trip through time in order to explore our origins and discover the craftsmanship that makes us universally known.
In May 2011, the Museum was expanded by joining an annex building. Thanks to this project, the surface area of the Museum increased by 1.000 square meters.
Among the Museum’s collection, we can stand out the Jesus Vico Collection, formed by archaeological pieces donated by Jesus Vico Monteoliva; the Caja Castilla-La Mancha Foundation Collection, deposited in the Museum since the beginning and composed of five hundred clasp knives date from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries; the APRECU Collection, donated by the Albacete Association of the Knife Making Sector and formed by pieces of the best contemporary knife makers awarded at the Regional Knife Making Contest (that is celebrated every year in Albacete); and the Cajamurcia Foundation Collection, with a large selection of Knives made in Albacete.
In addition to the exhibition rooms of the mentioned collections, we can also highlight The Scissors Hall, sponsored by the Caja Rural of Albacete Foundation; The Knives Hall, recently opened thanks to the sponsorship of Arcos Hermanos Company, where you can see daggers, push daggers, poniards and different knives, ranging from the 17th to the 20th century; a space dedicated to the Knife Sharpener, a profession always linked to the cutting instruments; the section dedicated to The Spanish knife making sector, where you can find a small sample of the knife craftsmanship made in different parts of the Spanish geography; The Knife maker's Corner, where the life and work of different knife makers is periodically exposed, or The Artisan’s Workshop, with a reproduction of a craft workshop of the sixties.
No less important are the pieces donated and deposited by anonymous people who every day come to the Museum to collaborate in increasing its collection. Thanks to all these contributions, today, the Municipal Museum of Knives and Cutting Tools has more than 5,000 pieces of cutlery, 500 ethnological objects and about 1,500 documents. During more than ten years, in the Municipal Museum of Knives, ten temporary exhibitions have been held. Thanks to these exhibitions, in the Museum:
-Other samples of knife craftmanship have been shown in exhibitions like “The Asturian knife making sector: Taramundi and Santalla” and "Pocket knives and craftsmen of Santa Cruz de Mudela”.
-The visitors have been able to know about different countries thanks to exhibitions such as "The Gaucho and his knife. Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil” and the exhibition called “European cutlery”.
-It has been made known the work of swordsmiths and sharpeners through temporary exhibitions like “Toledo Factory of Weapons” and “Profession: sharpener”.
-The knife making families of Albacete had a meeting in the exhibition “The knife making sector of Albacete in the twentieth century”.
-It has been revealed the gradual growth of the Museum thanks to the contributions of many people. This collaboration was shown in the exhibition called “Legacies of the heart. Donations and cessions made to the Municipal Museum of Knives and Cutting Tools”.
On the other hand, the Museum has stressed the importance of the collectors. Fifteen of them provided pieces for the exhibition called “Albacete knives, Treasures of three centuries”. The last exhibition was “The knife making in pictures: from the workshop to the factory”, which highlighted various pieces of the history of the Albacete knife making sector in the decade of the sixties, through the eyes of the master photographer Jaime Belda. Furthermore, the Albacete Museum of Knives has traveled with its itinerant exhibitions to Niteroi (Brazil), Maniago (Italy), Sardinia (Italy), Thiers (France) or Solingen (Germany) and, in our country, to Taramundi, Madrid and Valencia.
But the promotion of the Museum is not limited to the exhibitions of knives and cutting tools; the institution also complements its program with various activities. Examples of this are the Children’s Drawing Contest and the Knife Making Photography Contest, convened every year. Presentations and editions of books and catalogs complement the cultural activity that has been developed in the Municipal Museum of Knives and Cutting Tools.
Another educational activity proposed by the Museum is to bring its collections closer to children. For this purpose, every year, the annual program of the Museum is sent to all the schools and secondary schools in Albacete. In this sense, since 2008, the Municipal Museum of Knives and Cutting Tools has the educational project called “Feel free to visit us!” that ranges from pre-primary to secondary education. Through this program, the Museum is filled with pupils in the morning.
In addition, since 2009, the project “This is our history” is being carried out. This project is aimed at seniors and at all kinds of groups and cultural associations, in order to bring the Museum and its collections closer to the different types of public. The desire of the Municipal Museum of Knives is to continue in the task of preserving and promoting the artisan and industrial knife-making heritage and to carry out programs that allow the Museum to involve people of all ages –children, youth, adults and seniors- and especially all lovers of museums and lovers of knives, scissors and pocket knives, which are utensils used in daily life.