Palacio del Segundo Cabo, more than two centuries of history
By Sandra Portilla
The Palace of the Second Corporal (Palacio del Segundo Cabo), located in Old Havana, next to the Palace of the General Captains and facing one side of the Plaza de Armas, is one of the oldest buildings of the old Havana town.
It was also known as the Palace of the City Council and as the Royal Post Office in earlier times. The construction is over two hundred years old, since it was started in 1772 under the direction of the Spanish architect Antonio Fernández de Trebejos y Zaldívar, colonel of engineers of the Spanish Army, who also drew up the plans for the construction of the Palace of the General Captains, another of the emblematic buildings of the Cuban capital.
It has a façade articulated by semicircular arches that give the porch clarity and elegance and is currently the headquarters of the first technological museum in Cuba.
With the firm intention of taking advantage of technological advances to make the European footprint visible on the island and the relations between both territories, the Palacio del Segundo Cabo, Center for the Interpretation of Cuba-Europe Cultural Relations, stands as the first of its kind in proposing a historical account to interactively approach Cuban cultural processes.
Today, the building houses the first project in Cuba to consider the change in the museological perspective, in whose theme rooms the visitor is offered certain guidelines that help them rethink their understanding of history and identity when addressing the Cuban cultural processes themselves, of which Europe has been the protagonist many times.
Traditionally, the notion of a museum is more contemplative, while the palace proposal is more participatory, since one of the current concepts, closely linked to the new museology and managed by the Center, is the importance of the user and their experience.