Palazzo Mornau houses the world’s largest museum dedicated to Cannabis

Palazzo Mornau houses the world's largest museum dedicated to Cannabis

The Mornau Palace, which once housed insurgents against the Napoleonic occupation, is now home to a museum dedicated to Cannabis culture. It also houses an extensive marijuana-related souvenir store owned by the museum.

This noble palace, once a refuge for aristocracy, avant-garde art and thriving businesses, is located in the historic center of Barcelona, an area that has undergone a surprising transformation in recent years.

Mornau Palace: from modernist splendor to Cannabis culture

This 15th century Mornau Palace underwent a remarkable architectural transformation in 1908 by the modernist architect Manuel Joaquim Raspall.

The building’s interior features remarkable elements such as antique portraits, tapestries, stained glass windows, an impressive vault and an intimate Andalusian courtyard.

However, the place suffered a period of decay during the 20th century until 2012, after a complete restoration, it reopened its doors as the world’s largest museum dedicated to Cannabis.

Currently, this museum houses more than 6,500 historical pieces related to the cannabis plant, which its founder, Ben Dronkers, collected over 40 years. Upon entering, the museum offers a historical tour that explores the cultivation, use and consumption of this plant from ancient times to the present day.

Despite its fascinating content, the museum has faced criticism suggesting that its presentation is chaotic and confusing. There are several rooms filled with pipes, paintings and paper, and many wonder what is the purpose behind the mix of a modernist palace and marijuana.

Despite the criticism, the museum is notable for a room that exhibits the creations and opinions of famous writers and artists about marijuana. Topics such as Baudelaire’s Malditism, the influence on Rimbaud’s work and Gérard de Nerval’s relationship with this plant are explored.

In addition, the contribution of Cannabis to musical creation is celebrated, from iconic figures such as Bob Marley to anecdotes about Bob Dylan smoking with the Beatles.

A museum with an interactive touch

The highlight of the museum is a room with an interactive screen showing an American film. In this scene, two men drive a car while smoking, telling jokes and laughing uncontrollably, although the viewer cannot hear their laughter due to the lack of sound.

Upon leaving the museum, one may feel somewhat disoriented and dizzy, as if one has experienced the effects of marijuana. Perhaps that is the intention of the exhibition: to create a sense of bewilderment similar to that caused by marijuana.

It is a different experience in the middle of a surprisingly transformed space.