Preserving collective memory

Boxes and more boxes. As many as 155 of them, full of messages, posters, items of clothing, decorative objects and cuddly toys, lots of cuddly toys. On the night of 28 August, eleven days after the attack, over 5,000 items placed on La Rambla as a tribute to the victims were removed. The enormous volume of tributes is matched by a strong motivation to preserve the memory of the response from citizens, with even the simplest of messages written on scraps of paper forming part of the memory of events which affected the whole city.

Technical staff from the Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA) and the Barcelona Municipal Archive have started counting and classifying everything left by citizens and visitors at 149 points along La Rambla and which was carefully collected two weeks ago.

The main work being carried out in this first stage, up until early 2018, focuses on cleaning objects and removing wax and paraffin which had dripped onto them. Later on, each piece will be treated individually if necessary. The texts will be flattened out and stored in envelopes and folders, to then be digitalised.

The aim is to have the most complete information possible about the tribute and the response from citizens to the attack. That means an integrated memorial, which has been developed as from the very next day and which includes photographic and video documentation, as well as the signatures and dedications collected in the physical book of condolences and the digital version which was set up.