The Falkland Islands Museum completed its relocation to the Historic Dockyard in September 2014 – the successful end to a project that had been in the making for a number of years.
Five large galleries focus on the main themes of the museum – social history, maritime heritage, nature and wildlife, Antarctic connections and, of course, 1982. However, at its core the Dockyard is all about the people of the Falklands and the stories of the families that built the community is the common thread throughout the exhibitions.
The complex also includes several outbuildings – the Smithy & Gearshed, the R/T & Telephone Exchange, the Printing Office, and the Wash-house.
31p – Traditional Horse Gear
The horse features strongly in Falklands’ history, playing an important role in all areas of life – central to leisure and sport as well as essential for farm-work and travel.
Islanders generally made their gear (saddles, reins etc) by hand, using softened bullock and horse hide. Gear for daily use was practical and hard-wearing but quality was always important. Elaborately crafted pieces were a source of considerable pride and were sometimes given as wedding or special gifts.
A lean-to on the blacksmith’s building houses a recreated gear-shed, packed with a wide variety of equipment and showcasing the traditional skill of gear-making.
76p – Peat Burning Stove
Until the late 1980s peat was burnt for both heating and cooking in homes throughout the Falklands, and the pleasant smell of burning peat was frequently remarked upon by visitors.
The peat-stove was the heart of the home and is the focus of the little kitchen that is recreated in the museum, along with the ever-present peat-bucket and goosewing (literally the wing of an Upland Goose, used to sweep up peat dust and very useful for getting into small spaces).
Social history is the heart of the museum and the peat-fired kitchen to some degree symbolizes the essence of Falklands’ culture.
£1.01 – Warrah Skull
The warrah was the Falklands only native land mammal – its existence in isolation on the Islands fascinated Charles Darwin and to this day remains something of an enigma.
Darwin noted the warrah’s lack of fear of humans and predicted that it would become extinct once settlement was established. He was right, and the last known warrah was shot at Shallow Bay on West Falkland in 1876.
Only a handful of warrah specimens exist worldwide and until recently there were no remains held in the Falklands. However, in 2010, Dale Evans (then 13 years old) discovered bones on his parents’ farm and DNA testing later confirmed these as warrah. Carbon-dating has shown that the bones are at least 1,000 years old, making them the oldest known remains of the species.
£1.22 – Antarctic Exploration
The Falkland Islands have long served as a gateway to the southern continent and this relationship is celebrated in the Antarctic gallery, the centerpiece of which is the Reclus Hut.
The hut was prefabricated in Stanley and shipped to Portal Point on the Antarctic Peninsula where it was used as a refuge. In 1957/58, four men of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS; later the British Antarctic Survey) spent nine months living in the hut. For the last month they were joined by men of a sledge party that had made the first crossing of the peninsula from Hope Bay. The Hope Bay team was led by Wally Herbert who would go on to become an internationally renowned Polar explorer.
After a 1994 UK Antarctic Heritage Trust conservation survey, the hut was given to the Falklands museum.
Local artist Grizelda Cockwell was invited to design the stamps as her strong style was well suited to the subject matter. This was her first time working on stamps:
“I was so impressed by everything that had been achieved since the move into the Historic Dockyard site and was inspired to take the job on, although I had no idea what would be involved. It turned out to be a real challenge, but it was a most enjoyable one, mainly thanks to everyone in the Museum who were so helpful when I was prowling around taking photos, sketching things, moving stuff around, and generally being a nuisance.”
Artist: Grizelda Cockwell
Printer: BDT International Security Printing
Perforation: 14 per 2cms
Stamp size: 28.45 x 42.58mm
Sheet Layout: 20 (2 x 10)
Release date: 30 March, 2016
Production Co-ordination: Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd