The Gibraltar Museum is centrally located within the City of Gibraltar.
The Gibraltar Museum was officially opened on the 23rd July, 1930 by the then Governor, Sir Alexander Godley. It is situated in the premises which were the house of the Principal Ordnance Officer and the main reason for the choice was the existence of well-preserved fourteenth century Moorish Baths in the basement of the building.
The galleries cover a wide range of subjects, from the geological origins of the Rock in the Jurassic Period around 200 million years ago to the present day. At the start of the Museum visit you are introduced to the unique history of this Rock through a 15-minute film presentation entitled The Jurassic Rock.
Once exiting the film room, the visitor meets rooms dedicated to the multitude of connections between Gibraltar and the sea, from prehistory and the classical periods to the Second World War. Among the highlights is a reconstructed Roman Anchor, part of the largest collection of such anchors in the world which is housed here. The Moorish Baths come next and these are part of on-going archaeological work which is aimed at extending the perimeter of the baths and restoring them to their original form. Part of the scheme plans to use these unique rooms into an interpretation area of the Islamic history of Gibraltar.
At a second level there is a large scale model of the Rock in 1865. It is an antique piece and photographs around it allow the visitor to compare the Rock of today with that of the nineteenth century. The photographs are part of a large collection and the visitor can see such spectacular episodes as the North African operations during the Second World War, the construction of the naval dockyards or indeed life in the nineteenth century.
In this level there is also a room devoted to The Great Siege of Gibraltar (1779-83) and an art gallery in honour of Gibraltar’s most famous painter, Gustavo Bacarisas. Following from here there is a large room which has been converted into a cave in which can be seen some of the spectacular prehistoric discoveries which have made the Rock famous. They start with the famous skulls of the Neanderthals who occupied the Rock until 30 thousand years ago, and include an array of bones of animals which were once common on the Rock, such as elephants and hyenas.
There is also a large selection of the tools which the Neanderthals manufactured and pottery, from the Neolithic to the Carthaginians who dominated the Strait between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC. Among the highlights is a unique collection of seventh century (BC) Phoenician scarabs from the coastal sanctuary at Gorham’s Cave and which is one of the best collections in the Iberian Peninsula.
At a third level there are displays on Gibraltar’s unique Natural History, from the spectacular bird migrations to the marine life which abounds around its shores.
There is much to see in the museum and an entire morning or afternoon can be spent browsing through the exhibits. The visitor can relax in the peaceful gardens of the museum where he can enjoy a coffee or refreshment or perhaps a local dish from the restaurant’s cuisine, thereby permitting more time for what will be a memorable visit.
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