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Social History Collection

Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh Bust

The objects in the Social History Collections held by the Guernsey Museum Service are both varied and numerous. They represent not only island life in times gone by but also provide snapshots of life from around the globe.

"For such a small island it never ceases to amaze me how large, diverse and truly fascinating the Guernsey Museums & Art Gallery collection actually is. There are stories behind practically every object in the collection. Some are mundane whilst others are truly amazing. Yet they all tell a story of the Guernsey people and how they have lived over the past centuries in times of war and hardship as well as in times of peace and prosperity.

As a sea-faring people, Guernsey men and women have travelled long and far in pursuit of wealth and prosperity and have often returned to the island with objects from some of the farthest flung corners of the globe.

Travel, commerce and an indomitable spirit of persistence and adventure have led Guernsey people to build links that stretch across most of the world's oceans. Back along these links have travelled objects from remote and amazing places. These objects not only give us glimpses of the world at large but they also tell a story of the drive and tenacity of the men and women who collected them.

The Social History Collections illustrate numerous local topics including agriculture, horticulture, maritime and military history, local industry and many more. They also reflect the struggles of the Guernsey people during major conflicts such as the wars with France during the 18th and 19th Centuries as well as WWI and the Occupation of the Island by the Germans during WWII. The collections contain a plethora of items from the everyday to the exquisite illustrating the richness of Guernsey's history.

The Social History Collections are also fortunate to have a vast array of incredible ethnographic objects from around the world. These include Japanese and Chinese ceramics and other examples of their decorative arts. Wooden carved items, ceramics, decorative metal-wares and weapons from the South Pacific Islands, Africa, India, Australasia, the Americas - to name but a few.

In summary, it is incredible that a museum on such a small island should have such an exceptionally varied and valuable collection. But the fact is - it does! Follow the links to find out more about individual parts of the Social History Collections and the objects within them."

Matt. Harvey - Social History Curator, Guernsey Museums & Galleries, April 2012