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This museum re-creates the Madrid of days gone by without wallowing in nostalgia. It was partially closed for several years to restore the marvelous Baroque building and digitize the entire collection. Some of our favorite old-fashioned exhibits were re-installed. There’s no substitute for the topographic scale model of the city that was meticulously assembled in 1830. It remains better than any paper or digital map in its overview of the streets of the historic center. Go up on a balcony for an aerial view. Locate the Palacio Real, Plaza Mayor, and Puerta del Sol, and you’re good to go. Exhibitions trace the evolution of Madrid since it became the national capital in 1561. It is instructive to see paintings of Plaza Mayor through the ages, for example. The stage set of the plaza barely changes—its inhabitants are simply wearing different costumes.