A small nucleus of Meccano fond people began to gather in 1975 and an intense search in the whole Spanish territory began, sometimes being helped by information on names obtained from foreign publications. From the very beginning, one of our aims was to organize events that would spread knowledge of our existence out of that small nucleus so that many other Meccano amateurs who were thinking they were rare specimens “alone in the world” would join us in this passionate hobby of
MECCANO Exhibitions in Spain
A small nucleus of Meccano fond people began to gather in 1975 and an intense search in the whole Spanish territory began, sometimes being helped by information on names obtained from foreign publications. From the very beginning, one of our aims was to organize events that would spread knowledge of our existence out of that small nucleus so that many other Meccano amateurs who were thinking they were rare specimens “alone in the world” would join us in this passionate hobby of metal building.
Our list of Meccano fans was growing little by little, specially in Madrid and Barcelona and, in a lower scale, in other Spanish cities. This brought up the idea of organizing Meccano exhibitions that were already very usual in some other countries with Meccano guilds (number one being the U.K., where Meccano was born).
Together with the Barcelona amateurs we organized the first Spanish Meccano Exhibition on 29th November 1980. This exhibition was not open to the public. Its purpose was to meet and get to know each other and thus discuss the possibilities for starting true exhibitions. This first show took only one day and it was held in the house of the most veteran Barcelona fan.
The following year, 1981, the Second National Exhibition was held in Madrid, and its cost was borne by us. In this case, it was open to the public. During the two days it took (10th and 11th October) it attracted quite a number of people, some 1,500 and some new amateurs appeared, in spite of the fact that little publicity was done. The result encouraged us to try and find sponsors.
SPONSORING. By that time we were not legally established as yet but, nevertheless, we started a time of dedication and could make presentations, through friends and contacts, to several organizations like Saving Banks, Local Governments, Schools, Museums and so on, who showed an interest in our exhibitions and, sometimes they were extremely surprised at the success as to the number of visitors. Usually, these sponsors made some publicity in the press and/or radio and posters about each exhibition were always printed and distributed.
As a consequence of the above the number of visitors increased and reports in press and TV began to appear. Thus, the following year 1983, we held the 3rd National Exhibition in Granada, sponsored by the Granada Savings Bank, with the collaboration of the Meccano amateurs in that city.
PARTICIPATION. The number of exhibitors has been increasing from the first exhibitions when we were scarcely a dozen to an average of twenty. Consequently, the number of models exhibited was also increasing to a more or less stabilized average of 130 per show. From the 4th National Exhibition we too had the participation of overseas guests (mainly from France), as we invited amateurs we had contact with.
The length of each exhibition was increasing too: one week, 12 days, one month. At present it is stabilized in one month as an average, but sometimes it is extended at the sponsors’ request.
Until July 1999, when ACEAM was officially established, one exhibition has been organized practically every year the last being the 16th National Exhibition in Museo del Ferrocarril (Railway Museum), Madrid, from 15th May to 20th July 1999.
In parallel to the yearly National Exhibitions, smaller ones were held, such as the Five Catalan Meccano Weeks. One exhibition in Valdemoro, near Madrid, “Our Parents’ Toys” again in the Railway Museum in Madrid, and the Meccanocities I and II organized by an independent exhibitions company in Madrid and Barcelona.
We are not going to include here all the national exhibitions in detail, but just mention the cities in which they were held: Granada, Murcia, Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza, Vitoria, Soria, Huelva, Logrono, Ceuta, Oviedo, Gijon. A list with dates, promoting sponsors, number of visitors, participants and models exhibited, is avalilable.
EXHIBITIONS AS ACEAM:
17th National Exhibition in Huelva
City Museum Dec-99 to Jan-2000. 7,000 visitors
18th National Exhibition in Vitoria
Foundation CAJAVITAL Dec-2000 to Jan-2001. 30,000 visitors .
19th National Exhibition in Ceuta
CAJAMADRID (Savings Bank) February-March 2002. 6,000 visitors .
20th National Exhibition in Oviedo
CAJASTUR (Savings Bank) Dec-2002 to Jan-2003. 32,500 visitors .
21st National Exhibition in Gijon.
CAJASTUR (Savings Bank) January-March 2003. 66,500 visitors.
Smal Exhibition in MODA SHOPPING of Madrid in 2005.
Besides, ACEAM was widely represented in the International Exhibition “100 Years of Meccano”, organized in Barcelona and sponsored by the Ateneo Caixa Laietana, in Mataro from December 2001 to January 2002, to celebrate the Meccano Centennial.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. Local authorities and officials are generally present in the Exhibition openings and we also invite schools for guided visits, due to the high pedagogical interest involved in Meccano models. Many exhibitions included “workshops” for children to experiment and build models and this was greatly appreciated.
When we started with the exhibitions we had to take care of all expenses, travelling and hotel costs, even the cost for transportation of models and including the cost of a luncheon the closing day. However, we have gradually obtained from the sponsors to pay for all this expense.
We have the complete set of posters depicting the 21 National Exhibitions held up to now. This set of posters has been sent to every member, in DIN A-4 reduced size. Those old members who have been in all exhibitions already have the original posters, as well as the Diplomas and awards that are presented at the closing, of each exhibition.
The Association has quite a number of press reports on the exhibitions, specially in cities smaller than Madrid or Barcelona. A number of TV reports are also available in video cassette.
As an indirect consequence from the exhibitions we do have original copies from the articles and excerpts included in various magazines, some of them as, for instance, EL MEDICO (The Doctor) does not seem to have a direct connection with Meccano. Mentions and video excerpts have been broadcasted too in several TV programmes. These were taken at the TV studios or even at the Meccano amaterurs' homes.