When you help your children learn about Bermuda’s national history, you encourage a deeper appreciation of the island, its heritage and culture. Here are five ways your kids can experience our history outside of the classroom.
This elegant old Bermuda house turned museum is an important site for the African Diaspora Heritage Trail. The large house has been beautifully restored and boasts grounds full of native plants like cedar and palmetto, and a shaded citrus garden. The Trust maintains the 300-year-old property, including three floors, a drawing room and parlour, and various artifacts from the 1700s, including ornate wooden furniture, silver ornaments and children’s toys. The home was built and maintained by enslaved persons for 125 years until slavery was abolished – the quarters for enslaved residents can still be viewed today.
National Museum of Bermuda
With five centuries packed into a historic location, the National Museum of Bermuda is applauded for its commitment to the preservation of Bermuda’s history and identity. Among the shipwrecked treasures, early maps, and celebrated Graham Foster mural, the first floor of the Commissioner’s House houses an exhibit devoted to 200 years of enslavement, from the early years of settlement through Emancipation.
Walk the Railway Trail
Operating from 1931 to 1948, a train known as the “Old Rattle and Shake” was the primary means of transportation for Bermudians. The Bermuda Railway ran from St. George’s Station in the east to Somerset Station in the west. In 1964 it was transformed into a trail for walkers and cyclists. It was designated a National Park in 1986.
St. Peter’s Church
Located in St. George’s, this St. Peter’s Church was established when Bermuda was settled by the Virginia Company in 1612. The wooden church was central to the life of the settlers’ community and the international planting of the Church of England in the New World. The church has been rebuilt several times over the years, eventually in stone.
You’ll need some good walking shoes to find this piece of Bermuda history. Atop a hill at Spittal Pond Nature Reserve, Portuguese Rock bears the initials of a sailor and the date 1543. More recent research suggests the initials could stand for Rex Portugalis (King of Portugal) and were carved by a marooned Portuguese sailor watching out for a ship from the cliff top. Perhaps he intended to claim Bermuda for Portugal. In any case, the initials are the earliest physical evidence of human presence on the island.