Ethnographic Centre

Project Philosophy

The aim of the Faro de Maspalomas Ethnographic Centre is to showcase local craft trades and products in the context of the history of Gran Canaria. The items at the Ethnographic Centre were sourced from the rich and varied craft products held by the FEDAC and its documentary holdings (publications, photos, audio and video recordings, etc.). Information about craft trades were also gathered from external documentary sources, with special emphasis on the writings of travellers who visited the Canary Islands and described the craft practices on Gran Canaria.

Geographical and historical space

To help visitors understand the Ethnographic Centre in its context, the museological discourse explains the geographical and historical space of the Maspalomas Lighthouse and the nearby dunes and pond, recently proposed for the status of Cultural Asset in the category of Historic Site, among other reasons because Christopher Columbus stopped here on his fourth voyage to America to take on water and firewood.

This project is part of a modern trend of creating cultural spaces to complement sun and beach tourism, and will fill a gap in the island’s museums and cultural centres by showcasing the past and present craft practices of Gran Canaria. The feasibility of these types of actions has been demonstrated in various parts of the island, where the creation of small museums and interpretation centres has boosted the cultural and economic life of the borough. Maspalomas Lighthouse is at the heart of tourism on Gran Canaria and is the epicentre of the spread of tourism infrastructure that began in the 1960s. Since the first Maspalomas Costa Canaria project, in the early 1960s, tourism has been the mainstay of the economy in the south of the island, mostly on the coast and in the surrounding area.

Despite the predominance of tourism, the south of the island lacks cultural attractions as an alternative for tourists to raise awareness through historic heritage. The Centre proposed in this project is an exceptional opportunity to complement the predominant sun and beach tourism in the south of the island, giving visitors the chance to discover the recent history of a society that they visit but rarely interact with.


The Ethnographic Centre arose from an initiative of the FEDAC to make the Maspalomas Lighthouse a showcase for ethnographic values, with permanent exhibition rooms, a shop with local crafts, a tourist information point, signposts and gardens, and craft workshops with live demonstrations of traditional crafts from Gran Canaria and temporary exhibitions. The theme of the Centre covers all aspects associated with the ethnography, ethnohistory and popular traditions of the island of Gran Canaria. To make these ideas a reality, the initial project of the FEDAC suggested the themes for the Centre: the Maspalomas Lighthouse; geohistorical aspects of the island from pre-Hispanic to modern times; and traditional ways of life contextualised through traditional trades. In addition, all the museum pieces had to be consistent with the information already available on the FEDAC virtual museum.
With these ideas in mind, and after analysing the space available, the Centre was conceived as a place that would respect the essence of these key points. However, adaptations were necessary due to the layout and availability of spaces in the lighthouse complex. We also aimed to ensure that the content of the Centre was consistent with the lighthouse building, a heritage item and museum piece its own right.


The objective of the Centre is to provide information about the island’s craftwork within the traditional culture of Gran Canaria, from the time the island was conquered to the transformation of the traditional island society based on a primary economy (agriculture and fishing) to a predominantly service society supported by tourism, in a change that deconstructed the traditional context.
The Centre includes the observations of travellers who wrote about the island and its people, from ancient to modern times, with special emphasis on the period from the 15th century to the middle of the 20th century. The chosen references mention trades based on artisanal methods that have lasted over time to become part of traditional Canary Islands culture. In nine exhibition spaces, the Centre will immerse visitors in the world of Gran Canarian crafts, focusing on the study, recovery and development of local cultural elements, in particular the work of the FEDAC to maintain and encourage craft trades in the last 10 years.


Lunes a domingo de 10:30h a 17:00h


928 772 445



Pl. del Faro, 15,
35100 Maspalomas, Las Palmas