The Museum of St Helena

The Museum of St Helena

The Museum of Saint Helena is a museum on the island of Saint Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. It has an extensive collection covering the maritime, military, and social history of the island over two floors.

At the base of Jacob’s Latter staircase is this historic old museum. You will find a lot of teed-bits of island history. I enjoyed seeing all the exhibits, from seafaring to Napoleon. Inside you’ll find a diorama display of how the original Jacob’s ladder operated. There were two railroad tracks to the top of the mountain to Jacob’s ladder Fort. Small cars were used to transport ammo for the fort cannons and were pulled to the top by oxen and hand cranks.

Absolutely a must when you are in Jamestown. Everything on the history of the island and very well presented. Shipping and slavery as well as Napoléon are presented. I found out that a Norwegian consul had an office there as well. Good help from the staff and nice things to buy.

The origin of the Museum of St Helena begins in 1854 with the opening of St Helena Museum; among its contents were a sea serpent and a flying lizard! Other the next century there was a development of a number of small museums around the island including at Plantation House where they exhibited items from Napoleon’s House at Longwood and eventually Longwood House was developed into a fully-fledged Museum.

It wasn’t until November 1979 and the establishment of the St Helena Heritage Society that a proper Museum of St Helena began to form, on the 23rd May 1980 the Heritage Society opened a museum at Broadway House. Over the next 20 years, the Museum collection grew and eventually outgrew Broadway House, becoming rather, luttered and unmanageable.

This led to the establishment of a new Museum appeal and eventual acquisition of the Old Power House building in Lower Jamestown next to Jacob’s ladder. In the Museum we provide vital curation and stewardship of sensitive historic items on behalf of the community with limited financial resources. The Museum also has an extensive physical and digital archive of images, videos, and documents all relating to the island’s heritage.

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