The museum is located in the former salt storage facility or Real Alfolí dating from the 18th century and declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest in 1995. It shows the whole saltworking process from the mine to commercialisation.
One of the great riches of Catalonia from the seventeenth century to the arrival of phylloxera, was the production of wine and alcohol for export. The Balanyà Distillery in Espluga de Francolí produced liquor from grape pomace, made up of the skin, seeds and stalks after extracting the must.
The Balanyà Distillery dates from the mid-nineteenth century and remained in operation until the 1950s. The closure of the building, leaving it in disuse, meant that forty years later it was practically unchanged. This led to Espluga Town Council acquiring the building and declaring it an asset of local interest. With the support of Fundació Lluís Carulla and the Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia work began on studying, researching and recovering the building to incorporate it into the System of the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia, thus raising awareness of a key industrial activity in Catalonia over the last three centuries. The former factory opened its doors as a museum in 2009.
We know that salt has been produced since the ninth century, where the Monastery deeds already showed the Monks as owners of the 11 hectares of saline territory and the salt water pans. However, in 2015 it was discovered that in the Bronze Age (that is, over 4,000 years ago), salt was already produced in Gerri, but instead of evaporation from this salt water it was produced by boiling and used as a currency.
The presence of salt production operation in Gerri de La Sal is due to the fact that there is a source of salt water in their municipality. Traditionally, the salt source was the natural resource around which the entire economic life of the population revolved, either directly or indirectly. In fact, the location of the monastery of Santa Maria de Gerri, which would become the most important one in Comtat del Pallars, appears to be linked to this salt water. Given its high concentration of sodium chloride (Cl Na) the water from the salt pans made it possible to develop a site for the extraction of common salt for centuries.