Catch the History of Antigua in a Single Room (and a Coutryard)

Museum of Antigua and Barbuda
Location: St. Johns, Antigua, Eastern Caribbean
Entrance: $3 USD
Language: English
Recommended Time: 20 to 40 minutes

The principal theme repeating in this museum is how the local people of Antigua participate in sharing the pride of their local heroes and heritage.

Like the Museum of the Island of Cozumel, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda takes on the herculean task of covering the history of this Caribbean island (along with nearby Barbuda) since their formation. While most of the exhibits are dedicated to the island of Antigua, a section of the space is dedicated to Barbuda.

The museum is housed in the former Courthouse of St. John’s. The building had been abandoned due to the earthquake of 1974. Eleven years following the quake, the Historical and Archaeological Society took administration of the building. The museum features Petrified trunk of a palm tree, a canoe dugout from the trunk of a single tree, artifacts from the era of colonization and slavery. Even a life-size paper mache model of a baby humpback whale is suspended from the ceiling. The model was created by local elementary students.

In one innovative display, the curators created a life-size portrait—cutout in board—to illustrate the story of Prince Klaas. Klaas was a slave who arrived from Antigua from Ashante on the Gold Coast (Now Ghana). After years of servitude, his fellow slaves crowned him king, as he was leading a rebellion against the slave owners.

A key work in the museum lionizes local cricket hero Sir Vivian Richards. In 1999, Richards was knighted for his for his contribution to the game of Cricket. The sculptor, Osmond Hector, realized the more-than-life-size sculpture in fiberglass and oil paint. The museum even features the splintered bat used during his record breaking match in April 1986.

The gift shop here features gems of contemporary paintings depicting day-to-day life of Antigua.

This museum is recommended for those who want to see how ordinary people comes together to contribute to their local museum. Also recommended for those looking for exemplary paintings of contemporary Caribbean life. Follow their lively Facebook page for articles on Caribbean history.

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To see how the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos tells seven thousand years of their island history, click here.

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