Step Back into Museum History at the BVI Folk Museum

Location: Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Entrance: By Donation
Languages: English
Recommended Time: 20 to 40 minutes

Just like the museum in Antigua, this small museum packs the history of Tortola into two rooms. While the artifacts illustrate the history of the Ameriendians (the Arawaks and Caribs) and later the narrative of slavery and emancipation, the real beautify of this small institution is as a time capsule museum. Stepping inside felt like a museum from the turn of the century. Beautiful wooden cases lined with antiquities, natural history specimens, and curiosities—everything arranged in chronological order.

Even the style of exhibits hearken back to the 19th century. One curious style of historic narrative is a stand where you can flip through vintage photographs, which highlight the architecture of the Tortola. Photographs and documents show architectural details ranging from masonry to carpentry.

Another example of vintage storytelling is an album of stamps which tell the story of the native peoples of the eastern Caribbean. On paper, this idea a bit ludicrous, however, it is surprising how a collection of stamps, issued from nations across the Caribbean, can tell the story of these native peoples. Everything form ceremony to hunting to traditional arts—all represented in stamp form. It’s strangely compelling.

The giftshop also features nicely crafted folk art from the island. A favorite from my trip is the mermaid doll. (No photos of the girftshop, as requested by the artisans.)

Gutter Curator recommends this museum for those interested in the history of museums, for those fascinated with woodwork, for those with an interest in architecture and for those looking to purchase stunning folk art.

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