The origins of the new Museum can be located at the end of 2001 when the Ministry of National Finance, the Local and Regional Governments signed an agreement to transform the former Prison into the future Iberian Museum headquarters. With this, they lay the foundations for the city of Jaén to recover for public and cultural use a relevant place within the city, located in the new commercial and services area at the confluence between the Paseo de la Estación and the Avenida de Muñoz Grande.
The Iberian Museum was born with the aim of offering a broad vision of Iberian culture, promoting the conservation, research and diffusing of Iberian Art through archeology and anthropology. On the basis defined in the winning proposal of the International Ideas Competition called in 2003, the Iberian Museum is designed from the traces of the former Provincial Prison of Jaén. The proposal finally implemented is defined proposing a revaluation of its spatiality through a building rich in the relation between its public areas as well as in the organization of its spaces and their materialization, both inside the inner building and in outdoor access areas.
In a brief way, the functional program of the Museum can be grouped into the following main areas. Spaces with public access, permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions, service areas and public circulations, such as reception and information point area, accesses to the main halls, shop-gift area, cafeteria and conference room. Furthermore, the restricted-access spaces with a reception area of pieces, conservation and restoration area and warehouses, documentation areas and workshops. Finally, all the employees spaces, which include among others the Library and the Direction and Administration Area.