In 1982, the Diputación de València created the Museum of Ethnology and appointed the anthropologist Joan Francesc Mira as its director. The museum's mission was the recovery, conservation, study and dissemination of Valencian traditional and popular culture. Immediately, a small but enthusiastic team began to carry out fieldwork and collect objects of our material culture. The documentary system of the collections, the photographic archive and the library were also created.
The opening took place with the first exhibition in 1983, which showed the objects that had been collected until then. In 1986 the monographic exhibition From Grain to Bread. The cereal cycle, which represented a breakthrough in the small panorama of ethnological museography. It was open until 1995. That year, coinciding with the refurbishment of the La Beneficencia building, the first permanent exhibition was inaugurated.
With the turn of the century, the museum changed its name (Museu Valencià d'Etnologia) and a new permanent exhibition was created, which dealt with different aspects of Valencian cultural ecosystems, with an unusual and groundbreaking museography, which has become the way in which L'ETNO produces its exhibitions.
Since its foundation, the museum has collaborated with local councils and museums in the recovery and dissemination of ethnological heritage. This has been consolidated with the creation of the Network of Local Ethnological Museums (ETNOXARXA) and the establishment of a line of subsidies. This territorial work is completed with a large programme of travelling exhibitions.
In the field of research, collection management and restoration, the museum has improved its facilities and storage areas and has significantly increased the number of ethnological objects and collections, as well as their restoration and revaluation. In this area the museum has developed research projects and has created the Museum of the Word, Archive of Valencian Oral History (Museu de la Paraula. Arxiu de la Memòria Oral Valenciana).
The museum carries out many cultural, didactic and dissemination activities, of which we highlight two that have achieved great public acceptance and have become consolidated in the Valencian cultural scene: the Scare the Fear (Espanta la Por) project on the imaginary world of Valencian monsters and the concert series of the Etnomusic festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2023.
In July 2020, and despite the difficulties created by the pandemic, the museum managed to thoroughly reform the permanent exhibition, entitled "It's not easy to be Valencian" (No es fácil ser valenciano, ni valenciana) which reflects on the identity of Valencians in a constantly changing world. To highlight this new stage, the museum has changed its image and its website and has been renamed L'ETNO.
During these years, the museum has incorporated new programmes aimed at strengthening its social utility in areas such as health, inclusion and sustainability. New lines of action have arisen from a present-day reading of our heritage from which we are preparing to move into the future with innovative approaches.