Guyana National Museum is a museum in Georgetown, Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana. It was established on 13 February 1868.The idea of starting a museum was conceived by members of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society (RACS) of British Guiana. When RACS was established in 1844, one of its aims was to construct a Museum to house local minerals, soils, timbers, fruits, seeds, gums, resins, dyes and drugs, as well as the flora and fauna of the country. British explorer Robert Schomburgk, the German botanist Carl Ferdinand Appun, Mr Bratt, and W.H. Campbell presented gifts (including 55 indigenous woods, minerals from England, and specimens of botany and geology) to the RACS in order to start a Museum Collection. A fire in 1864 destroyed the donated collections.
A British Guiana Museum Company was established in 1867 for the construction of a building "which should be the permanent home of science, art, and industry." This project received great financial support from the public and the new museum on Company Path was opened on 13 February 1868. The Colonist newspaper of that date described it as a "magnificent structure."
The museum's first curator was Dr. H Witlock, the Medical Officer of Health. He was succeeded by Mr. Fresson. Everard im Thurn was later appointed by the government in 1877. He was a qualified curator who traveled to the interior in search of specimens of ethnology and other exhibits for the Museum. When the RACS launched the Timehri Journal, Mr im Thurn served as its editor. Other curators who made noteworthy contributions were John Joseph Quelch, James Rodway and Dr Walter Roth.
In 1934, the Georgetown Public Free Library received a second story, made possible through grants from the Carnegie Corporation, which was used to house the Museum collections.
The government assumed responsibility for the RACS Museum in 1936, renaming it the British Guiana Museum. It was administered by the Georgetown Public Free Library Committee.Mr P Storer Peberdy became the new curator in that year. During his administration, the Economic, Anthropological and Historical Section was opened in the upper flat of the Public Free Library on 19 February 1937. The Director of Education and the Curator arranged for public lectures to be given in the Museum. Mr. Peberdy traveled into the interior and obtained material which was added to the British Guiana Museum collection. He was succeeded by Vincent Roth in 1943.
On 23 February 1945, a fire that started at the Bookers Drug Store, opposite the British Guiana Museum, spread to the Natural History Section of the Museum and the RACS Reading Rooms and Library. The Public Free Library was not affected by the fire, sparing the ethnological collection. After the fire, Lot 53 Main Street was used as a taxidermy laboratory for the reconstruction of natural history exhibits.
Then governor, Sir Gordon Lethem, met with government officials on 16 March 1945 to propose the construction of a cultural centre on the site of the destroyed British Guiana Museum. The building would house the RACS Reading Rooms, the British Guiana Museum and an auditorium for dramatic presentations. It was recommended that a request be made for funding from the Colonial Development and Welfare Commission. Subsequently, the RACS began construction of the new Library and Reading Rooms.
The colonial government voted sums of money for the education of Ram Singh, the museum's taxidermist. In 1946, Mr Singh travelled to the United States to study taxidermy, botany, anthropology and zoology. He returned to British Guiana in 1947. Before his departure, the taxidermy laboratory was removed from Main Street to the former Cummingsburg market (1946). During the following years a temporary National History Museum was established and opened in 1949.
As use of the Public Free Library expanded, new space for the museum was considered. In July 1950, the RACS assumed control of the British Guiana Museum from the Public Free Library. The new museum building at North Road and Hincks Street was reopened on 28 July 1951by His Excellency, the Officer Administering the Government, the Honorable John Gutch.
Many of the museum's artefacts have been there for more than fifty years, like the Pork-knocker, which has been on display for over sixty years.There are also miniature versions of the Transport and Harbours Department Ferry boats. On display is also the PR1 vehicle, used by the Prime Minister Dr. Ptolemy Reid, during his tenure in high political office.
Georgetown is a city and the capital of Guyana, located in Region 4, which is also known as the Demerara-Mahaica region. It is the country's largest urban centre. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean coast at the mouth of the Demerara River and it was nicknamed the "Garden City of the Caribbean."
British Guiana was a British colony, part of the British West Indies, which resided on the northern coast of South America, now known as the independent nation of Guyana since 1966.
The Essequibo River is the largest river in Guyana, and the largest river between the Orinoco and Amazon. Rising in the Acarai Mountains near the Brazil–Guyana border, the Essequibo flows to the north for 1,014 kilometres (630 mi) through forest and savanna into the Atlantic Ocean. With a total drainage basin of 69,300 square kilometres (26,800 sq mi) and an average discharge of 2,104 cubic metres per second (74,300 cu ft/s).
Demerara is a historical region in the Guianas on the north coast of South America which is now part of the country of Guyana. It was a Dutch colony until 1815 and a county of British Guiana from 1838 to 1966. It was located about the lower courses of the Demerara River, and its main town was Georgetown.
Sir Everard Ferdinand im Thurn was an author, explorer, botanist, photographer and British colonial administrator. He was Governor of Fiji in the years 1904–1910.
Sir Robert Hermann Schomburgk was a German-born explorer for Great Britain who carried out geographical, ethnological and botanical studies in South America and the West Indies, and also fulfilled diplomatic missions for Great Britain in the Dominican Republic and Thailand.
The Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology is a museum of anthropology in Georgetown, Guyana and claims to be the oldest such museum in the English-speaking Caribbean region. It was established in 1974, but not opened to the public until 1982. It is located at 61 Main Street, North Cummingsburg, Georgetown.
Essequibo was a Dutch colony on the Essequibo River in the Guiana region on the north coast of South America from 1616 to 1814. The colony formed a part of the colonies that are known under the collective name of Dutch Guiana.
Arthur James Seymour, or A. J. Seymour, was a Guyanese poet, essayist, memoirist, and founding editor of the literary journal Kyk-Over-Al.
Georgetown City Hall is a nineteenth-century Gothic Revival building located on the corner of Regent Street and Avenue of the Republic in Georgetown, Guyana. The building was designed by architect Reverend Ignatius Scoles in 1887, and was completed in June 1889. The building houses the offices of the Mayor, the City Council, and the City Engineer.
Guayana Esequiba is a disputed territory of 159,500 km2 (61,600 sq mi) west of the Essequibo River that is administered and controlled by Guyana but claimed by Venezuela. The boundary dispute was inherited from the colonial powers and is complicated by the independence of Guyana from the United Kingdom in 1966.
Walter Edmund Roth was a British colonial administrator, anthropologist and medical practitioner, who worked in Queensland, Australia and British Guiana between 1898 and 1928.
The National Library of Guyana is the legal deposit and copyright library for Guyana. Unlike many national libraries, it is also a public lending library and the headquarters of Guyana's public library service, with branches extending throughout the country. Founded in 1909, the National Library of Guyana is situated on the corner of Church Street and Main Street in central Georgetown. In 2007, the library recorded a collection of 397,893 books and a total of 22,058 members. Its collection includes the papers of A. J. Seymour and Ian McDonald.
Moritz Richard Schomburgk, generally known as Richard Schomburgk, was a German botanist and curator of the Adelaide Botanic Garden.
Edward Angelo Goodall was an English landscape and orientalist painter, a member of the Goodall family of artists.
Audrey Joan Butt Colson, is a social anthropologist with a particular interest in the Amerindian peoples of Guyana, Brazil and Venezuela. She was, together with Peter Rivière, one of the pioneers of Amazonian anthropology at the University of Oxford.
James Rodway was an eminent British-born Guyanese historian, botanist and novelist. Widely credited as Guyana's premier historian, Rodway helped to establish national institutions such as the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society of British Guiana and the British Guiana Museum. A fellow of the Linnean Society, in later years he served as Editor of the colony's literary and scientific journal, Timehri.
Hannah Cassels im Thurn was a British botanical artist and ethnological sculptor best known for the collection of orchid illustrations attributed to her and held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society of British Guiana was established in Georgetown, British Guiana, modern Guyana, on 18 March 1844. It acquired its "Royal" prefix in 1853 when Queen Victoria became its patron.
Cummingsburg, or historically Cumingsburg, is a ward in Georgetown, Guyana. It began as 500-acre plantation, La Bourgade about 1759. When Thomas Cumming, a Scotsman, bought the property, he developed a town plan with residential and commercial lots and streets. The town layout was modified after a fire that burnt much of the town in 1864. Today, it is the site of several museums, including a national and anthropological museum.
Guyana National Museum.
The history of the museum dates back to 1844
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