Exploring Barbados’ Museum of Parliament and National Heroes’ Gallery

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Blog post submitted by Shana Jones 


The wooden door closes quietly behind me to shroud me in a soft yellow light diffused gently on brown wooden floors and the various “browns” of panels, pin-ups, and “preserves” that will lead me through Barbados’ history for the next two hours. Welcome to the Museum of Parliament, an interactive showcase of Barbados’ political history from the time of Arawak inhabitancy to the island’s modern day Parliament system. Connected to the Museum by a muralled passageway is the National Heroes’ Gallery, a visually compelling presentation of the nation’s 10 heroes: ordinary individuals who, through their “…express[ion] [of] the finest elements in the national character…have demonstrated a commitment to democracy, faith and freedom, social justice, and excellence”.

My walk through history starts with a brief, televised introduction of the story that awaits me. The story: photograph-enhanced wall pin-ups offer timelines spanning peaceful Arawak presence to oppressive English occupation and slavery to the mid-century declaration of independence. Yellowed official documents and miniature doors that open to reveal explanations of interesting terms (like suffrage and vestry) place me at very special turning points in Barbados’ history. Treasured items on display include an old police belt buckle, medals worn by distinguished citizens, and the ceremonial mace used to open and close House of Assembly sessions. I can even cast my vote for my party of choice in a recreated voter’s booth!

Read more about Shana’s exciting visit on her blog.


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