This interpretation centre in Santa Cruz de Tenerife opened its doors in June 2017 to keep the spirit of the city's most important
celebration alive all year round. After all, the Canary Islands' unique carnival has been declared of International Tourist Interest.
The building, located in the park of Barranco de Santos, covers 1,052 m2 and displays all of the elements and qualities that make this festival so unique. It serves the dual function of providing a public service and promoting tourism.
The main idea behind this centre is for it to be constantly changing, but it will also host a permanent exhibition showing the event's most symbolic elements. These include the first poster to advertise the festival, painted by Juan Galarza, and the baton used by the conductor of the famous Carnival music group Afilarmónica Ni Fú-Ni Fá, Enrique González, a fondly remembered figure on the carnival scene.
The building therefore represents a window into the world of Carnival and a place to exhibit its heritage, as well as being a great meeting place for carnival groups and a tourist attraction. Visitors will find it a highly interactive experience.
This centre can be visited free of charge until September, every day of the week from 9 am to 7 pm. The City Council has also been working with Sinpromi to make the entire content accessible, so they will be adapting it little by little to suit all audiences. In the meantime, there is a personal guide service available for those who might need it, ensuring a fully accessible visit.
This centre is divided into four specific areas:
The permanent exhibition: flexibly equipped to house all kinds of collections and content, documents and multimedia resources. The permanent display will vary to a certain extent, but the centrepiece will be the Carnival Queen's costume.
The Multi-Purpose Hall: this is the area that will house temporary exhibitions conferences, book presentations, talks and seminars. There is also an outdoor area where a stage can be put up to host open-air shows, concerts, costume presentations and other performances.
The Santa Cruz Carnival Heritage Documentation and Research Centre: containing catalogued information geared towards experts, journalists, students and researchers.
A café and shop.
Altogether, Carnival House reaches out to regional, local, national and international audiences, with four main target groups: tourists, the carnival community (carnival associations and fans), specialists and researchers, and the public at large (visitors and families).
The exhibition begins with a welcome tunnel introducing visitors to the theme by appealing to the senses with lights, colours and carnival sounds. Colourful streamers adorn the middle of the hall, which branches into eight separate modules. Each one contains a screen with different language options and audiovisual resources to interact with.
One of the walls will feature a shifting projection of Carnival posters, creating a dynamic mural that is easy to update. There will also be a video wall showing images of the Carnival, which will confer great visual impact and movement to the exhibition. That is where the 'confetti' will be: multi-colour chairs in different sizes.
Next comes a learning and interactive area for visitors and school groups to try on costumes, masks and wigs, play musical instruments and get a first-hand taste of the Carnival experience. After that, costumes and some of the Carnival's most representative objects will be displayed in a showcase that will be updated regularly.
The Carnival Queen's costume, the prize jewel, will be standing proudly in the entrance hall to welcome visitors and draw people in.
The House will also host the eagerly awaited Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Heritage Documentation and Preservation Centre, featuring the event's historic, artistic and sentimental legacy. This will be a place to gather, research and file all of the Carnival's documents and audiovisual materials.
Designed to be an active learning environment, the Centre will encourage educational activities and will include an area for organising workshops and various activities intended to teach schools and adult groups about the art and trade involved in the Carnival.