IBEROAMERICAN MUSEUM OF
CRAFTSMANSHIP FROM TENERIFE
The Museum of Ibero-American Handicrafts of Tenerife is part of the dissemination program carried out by the Island Council of Tenerife through the Insular Company of Crafts S.A. Whose main objective is to make known the artisan reality of Latin America in an immediate and tangible way, creating a large permanent exhibition, representative of all Ibero-American handicrafts, both current and disappeared, paying special attention to the Canarian crafts.
It is located in the old convent of San Benito Abad, run by the order of the Dominicans from whom it took its name. The establishment of the friars in the Orotava, is due to the patronage of the Mesa family, who propitiate its location around 1592, with the cession of the Church and the adjacent lands for its construction in the street of Water, today Tomás Zerolo.
In the 18th century, the Convent became one of the most important in the province because of the beauty of its facilities (the stone arch of the entrance, the cloister, the wooden ceilings, the stone staircase) that collect part of the work carried out by the Canarian architect, sculptor and gilder, Antonio de Orbarán.
Its rooms housed an important teaching activity, where prominent personalities of the arts and letters of the Canary Islands were educated and worked, such as the fabulist Tomás de Iriarte, the writer José de Viera y Clavijo or the famous engineer Agustín de Bethancourt.
After the eviction of the Dominicans by the Disentailment of Mendizabal in the nineteenth century, the building is transformed into a Lyceum, a military residence and later a citadel, occupied by the most humble families of the town. Over time, and due to the deterioration suffered by the different uses and abandonment, the building is declared in ruins and begins a long process of restoration by the Vice-Department of Culture and Sports of the Government of the Canary Islands and in its last two phases , by the Cabildo de Tenerife.
The property of the building is the City Council that has given its use to the Cabildo. Thus, in 1991, it opens its doors again as the Ibero-American Handicraft Museum of Tenerife to host a permanent exhibition that represents artisan reality.
At present it has ten rooms dedicated to permanent and temporary exhibitions of the pieces that the organism has been acquiring over the years, some of which are loaned as loans and others by donation or by purchase of the Museum; conforming as attractive samples as the important collection «Popular art in America and the Philippines», the Regional Prizes of Design of Canarian Crafts, the popular musical instruments of Spain and America, and the popular Spanish pottery.