The collection of decorations consists of more than 3,000 items, in addition to these, there are badges, insignias and emblems. The Royal Spanish Academy of the Language (RAE) defines the word decoration as “a cross, insignia, or any other similar emblem of honor and award”. They are granted by the State or the Crown, where applicable, for an outstanding action, with a lifetime tenure, individually or collectively. Its origins date back from the Middle Ages, but they did not widespread till the Spanish War of Independence, the Army Museum possesses more than 100 of the latter. They are often made of metal and decorated with enamel, being the most sumptuous the so-called “jewel awards”, made of precious metals and gemstones; but there are also some of them made in textiles: bands, “cravats” or “shields of distinction”.
Initially, various crosses and medals were created for each feat of arms, but since the war of Morocco (1859-60) unique insignias for each campaign were made. It is in this time when colored ribbons began to be used.
In the Decorations Thematic Hall we find a large sample, arranged according to chronological order or to the various types of orders of the merit, both national and foreign.