This society was established in 1933 by an act of parliament in an effort to document on permanent record, all aspects of Barbados’ history: old buildings, leading families and anything that is of historical interest. It is currently housed in the Garrison Historic Area, in the building that used to form the military prison at St. Ann’s Garrison, one of 12 such prisons constructed in the British Empire. The Barbados Museum and Historical Society is currently the #1 heritage institution in Barbados for exploring the culture and heritage of the island.
The museum has a library, The Shilstone Memorial Library, which is open to the general public. Here, persons will be able to come in and research events in Barbados’ history, both for their own personal knowledge or as part of their studies. The museum also has a gift shop, where you can purchase hard to find books, prints and maps, as well as Barbadian craft and jewellery. Finally, with the stunningly beautiful and exquisite premises, with the lush gardens and cobblestone courtyard, the grounds of the museum are ideal for any special event, especially outdoor weddings.
The museum also offers educational island tours, once or twice monthly. The tour takes you on a bus excursion where you can learn about the island in a fun and existing way with the help of a tour guide. It is the ideal educational adventure for the entire family. Before the busses depart the museum to explore the island, patrons are usually offered a guided tour of the museum galleries.
While the Barbados Museum and Historical Society has a collection of over 500, 000 artefacts, other main features, collections and displays of the include the following:
- A natural history display that describes the coral structure of Barbados.
- Artefacts of the early inhabitants of the Caribbean islands, the Amerindians.
- ‘Yesterday’s Children’ gallery, which as the name suggests is ideal for children, provides an exciting way for them to learn about history.
- Furnishings of an eighteenth-century plantation house, where you see the decor exactly as it was in those days.
- Exhibits of modern art
- African and European Decorative Arts.
- Antique maps and prints.
- Social and military history.
- Tools and equipment.
- Coins and medallions.
- Early photography and personalia
- …and many many more.
“Education and humbling” – Intrepid-traveller53
Very informative museum, charting the history of Barbados. Well worth a visit to see how the island has evolved.
“For children and adults” – claire r
Interesting history to be explored at the museum about Barbados. They also have an exhibition, especially for children. If you want to explore your family history they have an excellent archive library with a very helpful and knowledgeable librarian. They also offer special tours (historical) of the island but ONLY at certain times of the year, they are very good. Worth enquiring when you pay for your entry ticket.
“Excellent little museum” – Justinitforfun
For anyone interested in the history of the island this is an excellent choice, and for anyone looking for something to do on a rainy day. One of the best museums in the Caribbean with several galleries. This is an old military prison, set on the Garrison Savannah.
“Charming and interesting museum” – Graydondee
We spent a very pleasant hour here on a hot afternoon in Barbados. I thought it was excellent value for money and had some good exhibits in a logical sequence in the old military prison building which was interesting in itself.
Not the biggest museum I have ever been in but a well laid out and explained exhibition….
The Museum is opened seven days a week for tours of the entire grounds: Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sundays from 2pm to 6pm. It is generally closed to the public on bank holidays. Also, due to the fact that this is a venue used for special events as well, the museum will generally be closed when such an event is occurring. For more information, contact 427-0201.