National Trust of Guyana

Guyana National Museum

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Location: Robbstown, (Company Path) Georgetown
Classification: Community
Period/ Year Built: Established 1868, current building completed 1951

Historical Background / Description:
The Guyana National Museum is located on North Road, Robbstown, Georgetown, where Fort St. George once stood, on Company Path. The institution was established in February, 1868, by the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society (RACS). However, the idea for a museum came into being since 1844. The museum initially displayed glimpses of the then British colony’s natural heritage in the RACS reading and model room. As time progressed, the institution was plagued with a number of difficulties that either left its artefacts damaged or destroyed; most notable is the February 23, 1945, “Great Fire” of Georgetown.

By 1870, the entity was heavily funded by the British Government and a portion of the museum was housed in the Public Free Library and was addressed as the British Guiana Museum. In 1936, a proposal was made for a new building at a meeting convened by Governor, Sir Gordon Lethem, K.C.M.G. It was proposed to have the structure fire proof and large enough to house the institutions’ reading and model room along with the artefacts displayed at the Public Free Library. Cultural offices were also recommended to be housed in the new building. On July 28, 1951, the two-storey concrete structure was dedicated by the Archbishop of the West Indies and was formerly opened by the Honourable John Gutch, C.M.G, O.B.E, the officer who was administering for the Government. The building however, could only accommodate the museum. The British Guiana Museum was renamed the Guyana National Museum after the colony gained its independence in 1966.