To the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Museum
The Home for Carnival.
Welcome to the greatest festival on earth and the International Festival Museum dedicated to collecting, preserving and communicating its legacy! Finally, Carnival will have its own international museum space, which will be as vibrant, exciting, participatory and creative as the festival itself. Trinidad and Tobago-inspired carnivals are celebrated in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. All of these carnivals - including the fount, T&T Carnival - finally have a home.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival – “A Living Ritual”
Carnival was introduced by French settlers in the late 18th century to Trinidad as a season of masked balls that climaxed on the two days before Lent. Initially exclusive to 'free' people and omitting those who had been enslaved, Carnival was revolutionized by Emancipation in 1838 by the formerly enslaved Africans, who brought their own traditions of dance, music and costuming, along with their own passion and rivalry. Thereafter Carnival became a crucible for the conflict and creativity of the society, the crises of economy and identity, as it passed through colonialism, independence and under-development, through boom and bust, up to today.
The Trinidad and Tobago Museum (TTCM) - “A Living Museum”
T&T Carnival is unique, and so too will be its museum. Like the festival, the museum will celebrate freedom and the coming together of peoples. Its exhibits, analogue and digital, will be interactive, they will offer visitors a 365-day museum experience of Carnival.
Who We Are
The Carnival museum has been an idea long in the making. The opportunity to realize this idea came with the founding of the museum in March 2021 through the efforts of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Bands Association (TTCBA) and the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago (CITT). These two groups fully realized the Carnival Museum after successfully winning a public call for proposals published by First Citizens Bank for use and repurposing of its former head office location, the Trinidad Co-operative Bank ("The Penny Bank").
Major Carnival stakeholder groups Pan Trinbago and the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) then joined to lend their support to the effort.
Through the award of this building, the Carnival Museum will be able to acquire and conserve the nation’s Carnival assets, knowledge and experience. This historical heritage site will now be the foundation to transition the space from banking pennies to banking our Carnival cultural heritage.
The Carnival Bank
The “Penny Bank” building, which was built in 1914 initially for a bank, is in need of extensive renovations in order to modify the layout into one suited to a museum. At present, architectural plans of the museum layout are being conceptualized along with the museum concept and early exhibitions of the walk-in and virtual experiences, following which, the plans to enable the reconfiguration to a more suited museum layout will be undertaken. The proposed site at 81 Charlotte Street, Port of Spain, is in close proximity to the ‘birthplace’ of Carnival – Piccadilly Street. This would align completely with the proposed plans for the beautification of Charlotte Street announced recently by the Mayor of Port of Spain.
What We Do
In spite of our rich and diverse cultural heritage, of which Carnival is its foundation, Trinidad and Tobago has no single location wherein a display of history and development of our global festival can be curated or the skills associated with the art forms therein be demonstrated and taught. The concept of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Museum began with the growing need to preserve the origins of T&T’s tangible and intangible Carnival assets including (but not limited to) historical documentation, images, art, music, film, instruments, costumes, cultural artifacts and information. We believe that a Carnival museum would provide not just an opportunity to display our culture and be a Tourism attraction but would also be an invaluable avenue to expose the world to the rich traditions of our indigenous art forms. The museum will be a tool to educate future generations on our history and an avenue for keeping the skills associated with the art forms of Carnival alive.
Aims and Objectives of the Museum
To be an educational and research institution aimed at creating a home for the national and international Carnival community, where its knowledge is collected, stored and disseminated, thus becoming the hub of a national and international cultural network.
To Be the Physical and Virtual/Digital archive for Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.
To preserve the origins of T&T Carnival and T&T-styled Carnivals globally.
To communicate and share Trinidad and Tobago Carnival in an engaging, interactive and memorable way to all identified Publics/Audiences.
For a dream this big, we will need a pool of resources to bring the museum to life. Our initial cost estimate and fundraising target for the development and opening of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Museum is TT$25 million. Financial oversight of funds raised and expended will be provided by the Governing Board through its Finance Committee with First Citizens Bank serving as the primary bankers. Financial statements will be audited annually. We believe the time and opportunity to launch a Carnival Museum is ideal and we look forward to your support. To join the journey with us, please send a donation using the information below:
First Citizens Bank - OWP Branch.
Account Name: The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Museum.
Trinidad and Tobago Acct No: 282 22 94
USD Acct No: 283 22 67
Please check your email account for donation confirmation.
Cash Donations collected are distributed as follows:
Exhibits & Collections 30%
Preservation & Reconstruction 25%
Hall of Fame 25%
Research & Education 20%