Built in the late 18th century in Speightstown, , Arlington House was constructed by the early settlers on the island in a classic “single house” design. The house was formerly the home of a wealthy merchant and is the only remaining piece of architecture in the island that shows Barbados’ influence on Charleston’s architecture in the USA. It was built of coral, limestone and rubble masonry, while egg whites and molasses were used to create a paste which was then used to create the thick walls of the house. The ground floor was originally used by ships’ chandlers to carry out their business and thus was the working area of the house. The house was restored in 1999 and has now been transformed into the interactive Arlington House Museum, which was opened in 2008.
The museum is an interactive 3 story museum that offers a unique experience. There are interactive audio-visual features in the museum which make learning about Barbadian heritage fun and engaging. Each of its three floors has a different theme of interactive exhibits. Speightstown Memories, introduces patrons to the lives of the first settlers of the islands. Plantation memories looks at the influence of colonization and the plantation system on the island as well as sugar cane. The Wharf Memories theme features a talking pirate recalling the importance Speightstown used to have in Barbados as a leading port and trade hub. A film is also shown, giving an overview of Barbados from the past to the present.
“Very Informative” – Nayzbee
A good place to escape the heat, this museum is very informative and the staff helpful, didn’t visit the whole museum, downstairs is free and upstairs is around 25 Barbadian dollars for adults. Worth a visit if you’re interested in the history of Barbados, their professions, lives before and after slavery etc.
“Best Museum on the Island” – PhD2007
If you are a history buff, do not miss this museum. I am actually a professional historian and I was really impressed by this place. The exhibits were amazing and many had interactive features. For instance, you could weigh yourself and translate that into a sugar price and see how much you would bring on the sugar market. The house is really beautiful with an impeccable restoration and it is air conditioned, which is unusual in house museums in the Caribbean. My specialty is architectural history and I am from an island so when I see a good restoration I am impressed…
“Exceedingly good” – Tina B
It just goes to show what a bit of investment can do. This historic building had been beautifully refurbished and the right up to date inter active museum is a sight to behold. A great little history of Speightstown and the island in general…Staff and guide helpful and knowledgeable – time well spent mad most enjoyable. Tina B
For more information on Arlington house and its Museum, and to book a tour, contact 422-4064
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