My first memory of the Museum is from the mid-1970s when the National Trust was considering the Keep as a site for a maritime museum. I went along with my parents to take a look. The site had been abandoned for years: rusty out-of-service Government buses were abandoned in the Keep Yard; dilapidated lean-tos and other hastily-erected wartime buildings littered the upper grounds; the ramparts were choked with poison ivy, cane grass, fennel and jumbie bean;  and at Commissioner’s House floors had rotted, ornate plaster mouldings had fallen everywhere and there were ferns growing inside. I volunteered briefly hoeing vegetation to make a path around the ramparts.

Fifteen years later, when this photo was taken I was the Curator at the Museum, working on collections, exhibitions, and publications. In the previous decade, alongside other staff members and volunteers, I had combined curatorial work with the other, practical work that was needed to physically rehabilitate and maintain the site: from cement mixing, demolition, and many trips to the Sally Port Dump, to cleaning, ticket office duties, and gardening. There was a spot of salvage as well, as we gathered useful items from buildings elsewhere in Bermuda which were about to be refurbished or demolished, and used those to outfit the Museum offices, student hostel, and apartments. I vividly remember the acid yellow, grey and black carpet with a swirling design that came from a Princess Hotel ballroom! Among the volunteers and contributors in these years were many of the businesses and people in Dockyard—and beyond—who cheerfully lent equipment, donated historic items they came across, and made very generous donations both in kind, and in funds.

Today it gives me immense pleasure to be working in a fully-realised national museum—but every once in a while I miss the exhilaration of swinging a mattock or the satisfaction of toenailing a floorboard, and seeing the museum physically come to life in front of me.