The Grenada National Museum (GNM) at the corner of Young and Monckton Streets, St. George’s opened its doors to the public on 17 April 1976. Under the instigation of then Prime Minister Sir Eric M. Gairy, it was founded by a group of expatriates and citizens who came together to promote the awareness of history, culture and heritage by displaying elements of Grenadian history and culture. For many years thereafter it was the sole functioning museum in the country, and has remained the only one with a national agenda.
The Government of Grenada (GoG) has provided support in the form of accommodations and other subsidies, and designated various ministries, including Tourism and Education, to work with its members to develop the GNM. The GNM was successful in gaining control of the entire Antilles complex once the Ministry of Education moved to the Botanical Gardens. Yet, in its 39 years it has struggled to survive by the sheer determination of a few dedicated individuals, oftentimes relying on their own resources. It has endured many challenges, including the extensive destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan. As such, the small collection of the GNM has not fared well.
The GNM’s collection of artifacts consist of objects illustrating Grenada’s history and culture, including an assortment of pre-Columbian Amerindian artifacts of unclear provenance. Displayed also are agricultural machinery once used in the manufacture of sugar and rum, whaling equipment from the whaling station at Glover Island, the supposed bathtub of the French Empress Josephine, a few guns, historical pictures and documents of limited significance, copies of historical maps, and a bird collection.
Financial/operational support derives primarily from entrance and member fees. In August 1996 the GNM became a non-profit corporation, gaining legal authority to “own property, accept gifts and to negotiate on its own behalf.”
A number of people have played a tremendous role in its establishment and survival, including Jeanne Fisher, Leon Wilder, David Merriman, Dr. Devere Pitt, Jean Pitt, Wilfred Redhead, and Gordon de La Motte.