Josep Puig i Cadafalch had the idea for the museum: a town in which the architecture, style, and culture of various locations from around Spain were preserved in a single place. The aim was to produce an 'ideal model' Spanish village, a synthesis of monumental Spain. The architects that designed the town were Francesc Folguera and Ramon Reventós. In total, the town was built in 13 months, and although it was only needed for 6, for the exhibition, it was not demolished and was kept open as a museum.
The museum occupies a total area of 42,000 m² or about 138,000 ft² and contains 117 buildings, with streets and squares reproducted to scale.