Human towers, recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO and an image that has become synonymous with Catalonia worldwide, has a new museum dedicated to them. Món Casteller - The Human Tower Museum of Catalonia, in the very heart of the Historic Centre of Valls, close to the iconic Plaça del Blat, the birthplace of castells.
The opening of Món Casteller coincided with the events commemorating Catalonia’s National Day, a day which has traditionally involved a performance by the castellers of Valls. In addition to opening the facility, the Ministry of Culture, Tarragona Provincial Council, Valls City Council, and the Coordinadora de Colles Castelleres de Catalunya are due to sign an agreement that will ensure the museum remains open at least until the year 2026. At that time, a review will be conducted of its first four years in operation, and the commitment to make this castell museum a benchmark space will be renewed.
Minister Garriga stated that the museum, which “brings together culture and identity in an immersive and sensorial way, is a tribute to all the men and women who, at some point in their lives, have come together to build human towers”. The Minister of Culture emphasised that the museum is the result of the joint efforts of the public authorities involved in the project, which are Valls City Council, Tarragona Provincial Council, and the Government of Catalonia through the Ministry of Culture.
The mayoress of Valls stressed that this is “a unique and singular museum, just like the castells, a tradition that represents Catalonia worldwide and identifies us as a country”. She has also underlined the fact that the new space is the “headquarters for all the groups in Catalonia, the home of all the castellers”. She also pointed out that the opening of the facility is “a resounding success”, but she added that it’s just one more step, a continuation because it must become “a living museum, and like the castells, it must keep growing”.
The President of the Coordinadora de Colles Castelleres de Catalunya, Rubén Gaón, stated that the museum “is an opportunity for us to share our passion with everyone, what we do, and how we do it, highlighting the most important moments of a two-hundred-year-old history that has brought us to where we are now, allowing visitors to feel like castellers for a few moments”. “The Coordinadora de Colles is proud to be part of it and we encourage everyone who loves human towers to make it a little theirs too, let’s make the most of it”, he added.
The museum features an extensive presentation of over two hours of audiovisual material spread across 22 projections. This includes a unique immersive show along with, among other things, large-format productions and a unique videodance dedicated to the castell rivalry. Additionally, there are interactive touch screens that allow visitors to expand their knowledge about everything related to human towers. The audiovisual material is just one part of a museology that, throughout the 2,800 m2 of the facility, turns Món Casteller into a museum of experiences where visitors can feel and experience the thrills of human towers.
The museum’s narrative thread is inspired by the guiding principles of human towers, as described by Josep Anselm Clavé with the well-known motto “strength, balance, courage and good sense”, which for more than 150 years has characterised the casteller tradition. Visitors will pass through the museum as if observing a play structured in three acts, in the form of an introduction, a climax and a denouement.
The Human Tower Museum as a whole combines the rigour of a cultural interpretation centre with innovative narrative resources aimed at engaging the public and inviting them to continue discovering the values, magic, and spectacle of castells. The tour includes various moments of intensity, moving between emotion and reason, between experiential and interpretive spaces, in order to transform the visit into an experience of thrills and discovery.
“Camises” (shirts), first temporary exhibition
In addition to the permanent exhibition area, the Human Tower Museum also has a specific space for hosting temporary exhibitions. For the opening, this space will host the exhibition “Camises”, an artistic proposal that showcases the shirts of over a hundred active colles (castell groups), donated to the Human Tower Museum by the groups themselves. The collection is part of the fundamental inventory of the museum, a forest of shirts and an array of colours that reflects the vast social and cultural diversity of the world of castells.
Educational Space: learning from human towers
The museum will offer a wide range of educational activities for schools and groups focused on learning about the world of castells through its values. These proposals will stimulate observation and discovery, encouraging imagination, creation, recreation, play, manipulation, and participation. For this very reason, in the Educational Space of the Human Tower Museum, a service sponsored by Repsol, the goal is to promote, in a fun way, education in values through knowledge, awareness and respect for the cultural environment and the heritage of the region and the castell world.
The museum will also offer family-friendly activities that combine the visit with dynamic games. This will involve gamified visits that invite visitors to explore the facility through educational strategies and activities in which children and the whole family can take part in a collective experience. Through play, they will be able to explore the various corners and spaces of the museum.
Tickets and discounts
Tickets to visit the Human Tower Museum can be purchased through the museum website (www.museucasteller.cat), from where visitors can also obtain the different discounts and promotions. General admission to visit the Human Tower Museum is €8.80, but half-price tickets (€4.40) are available for young people aged 12 to 17, single-parent or large families, holders of the Carnet Jove (Youth Card) or Carnet Cultural de Valls, and students. Discounts are also available for people aged 65 and over and groups of 10 or more people, with tickets priced at €6.60. Admission is free for children aged 0 to 11, as well as for the unemployed and people with disabilities. The Human Tower Museum offers various services including a guided tour of the permanent exhibition (surcharge of €3.30). All these tickets and services, including the free ones, must be booked in advance through the Human Tower Museum website.