Detail of the coffering in the hallway of the Casa de Los Tiros
The museum was inaugurated in 1929 after the lengthy lawsuit regarding the Generalife concluded. In the agreement, the State recovered the estates of the Generalife and received, as a donation, the Casa de los Tiros, which is located at the entrance to one of the most unique areas in the city, the "Realejo". The first tourist information office is located in this building, and the other rooms are dedicated to the development of a graphic museum of the history of Granada, very much in line with the local museums which were being set up around this time in Spain. The promoter or architect of this first museological and museographical project was Antonio Gallego Burín, who managed to gather together a significant collection of objects with a Granada theme. These objects were organised by environmentally recreating history in a chronological sequence which was begun in the 16th century and ended in the 20th century.
The selection criteria for the objects displayed a profound sense of the future, because efforts were focused on recovering drawings, engravings, lithographs, photographs, drawings, pieces of local craftsmanship such as earthenware, streetlamps, fabrics, etc. Bibliographical objects with a Granada theme, travel documents, series of publications, pamphlets etc. were also collected. This significant effort to organise the Museum was completed with the collection, through purchase or donation, of private archives from individuals who were of note in the cultural life of Granada. Gallego Burín would also donate his personal archives to this museum.
In the layout of the Casa de los Tiros Museum from 1929, there are several halls of special interest, such as the one dedicated to the Romantic travellers, centred on the figure of Washington Irving; the hall on industrial art, which accommodates the value and importance of the local craftsmanship; or the hall dedicated to the gypsy world, the only one dedicated to such an important human group at the time.
Antonio Gallego Morell, son of Gallego Burín, will continue his father?s work, consolidating and adding to the objects, even improving on the plan to dedicate a special interest in the literary world and world of journalism in Granada, which will add to the understanding of the exhibition halls.
After a profound restoration of the building, which was completed in the last decade of the 20th century, a plan was made to re-direct its image towards a museum with a more specific content, and thus a new type of exhibition space focused around Granada in the 19th century was created. This new image was based on the 1929 project, in addition to a close analysis of its collections, since there is a clear reference to the 19th century both chronologically and in the wealth of its objects. Consequently, throughout all of the exhibition spaces in the historical building, the museum which is presented in the visit displays a solid vision of those events and concepts which marked the 19th century.
This reorganisation of the museum discourse has implied a modernisation of the services regarding the research of local themes, providing the researchers with significant objects including series of publications, the library, the archive and the rich examples of cartography which are not on exhibit as well as lithographs, photographs, engravings with a Granada theme, etc.
The historical importance of the building must also be mentioned, in particular, the tower or main body with which the house, as an example of architecture from the 16th century, is presented to the city. Based on an Islamic past, the tower was transformed by its owner, Gil Vázquez Rengifo, in the 16th century, developing an interesting symbolic programme linked to and based on the exaltation of the medieval hero and the passage into modernity in this process.