The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda was founded in 1985 and resides in the former St. John’s Courthouse, built in 1750 and believed to be the oldest building in town. The architect was Peter Harrison, well known for many fine buildings in the United States and the West Indies, from Mansion House in New York City to the Spanish Town Statehouse in Jamaica. The Court of Justice was held on the ground floor, with meeting rooms for the Legislative Council and Assembly upstairs. (For more on the history of the building, see Desmond Nicholson’s Heritage Treasures of Antigua and Barbuda, available at the Museum.)
The mission of the Museum is to:
–Advance the understanding and exploration of the history, culture, and architecture of Antigua and Barbuda.
–Document the physical and cultural heritage of Antigua and Barbuda, which have local, regional, and national significance.
–Educate by collecting, preserving, and interpreting artifacts, writings, and oral histories, both historic and contemporary, which reflect the living heritage of the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
–Collaborate with other organizations with similar interests, while maintaining permanent spaces suitable to the Museum’s mission.
Through these activities, the Museum serves the people of Antigua and Barbuda and all those who enjoy its history and culture.
The museum’s main floor houses exhibits relating to the history and culture of Antigua and Barbuda, including the geological formation of the islands, the Amerindian peoples and cultures who inhabited the island prior to European settlement, and recent Antiguan cultural practices. There is a library upstairs that has a large collection of pre-Colombian and historical artifacts, including ceramics, faunal remains, and metal objects, and an extensive collection of primary and secondary materials, including texts, maps, and photographs.
Where we are: Long Street, St. John’s, Antigua
Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Historical and Archaeological Society of Antigua and Barbuda manages and oversees the operations of the Museum. The Museum works in partnership with the Dockyard Museum at English Harbour and the Betty’s Hope Trust, which are open to visitors; the Field Research Centre at Dow Hill, which is open to researchers; and Barbuda Archaeological Research Centre on Barbuda.
To become a Friend of the Historical and Archaeological Society, you can do so online or you can send a cheque or money order payable to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, P.O. Box 2103, St. John’s, Antigua. The categories of membership are: