Museum to preserve historical papers on Bermuda’s Black history
Historical papers and items of importance to Bermuda’s Black history are to be preserved thanks to an agreement signed between a Warwick lodge and the National Museum of Bermuda.
The Trustees of the Princess Royal Union Lodge of Cobb's Hill signed a collections management agreement with the museum for the benefit of residents and visitors.
A spokeswoman for the museum said: “This is an expression of Bermuda's full heritage and a legacy of mainly its Black community.
“The PRU is a branch of the Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria, an egalitarian friendly society which empowered and supported Bermuda's Black community for over a century.
“Following its establishment in 1899, PRU remains as the last active Samaritan's lodge.”
A spokesperson for the lodge added: “With lodge membership declining in recent years, the trustees felt it was important to record and secure the preservation of the lodge’s history for future generations.
“As a result, lodge trustee Dr Michael Bradshaw reached out to the museum in 2019 to discuss collaborative documentation of the lodge collection and a possible repository agreement.”
A team from the museum, including Zoe Brady, intern Jaylen Simons and assistant registrar Andrew Wallace, photographed, catalogued, cleaned and housed more than 300 items in archival-quality packaging materials.
The collection includes lodge charters, minutes books, photographs, regalia and funerary clothing.
There are also symbolic objects and furniture used in lodge meetings as well as objects that were salvaged from now-closed Samaritan lodges the Victoria Lodge and philanthropic lodges.
Special inclusions are an ark dating back more than 120 years and a preserved “dove icon”.
Dr Bradshaw said: “This is an intact collection of a living and functioning lodge, which is being shared with the world through the National Museum of Bermuda when there are still members and witnesses alive and with 'solid faculties'.
“Seldom do acquisitions of historic and cultural items occur with these advantages.”