The Turks and Caicos National Museum is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at recording, interpreting, preserving, and celebrating the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands and its people, and is run as an independent company with a Board of Trustees. It was opened officially on 23rd November 1991. However, the first thoughts of a museum had been voiced during the excavations of the Molasses Reef Shipwreck between 1982 and 1986.

The Turks and Caicos National Museum's main site is located on the island of Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands; it is housed in a lovely Bermudian-style building, considered to be one of the oldest surviving private residences on Grand Turk. Its exact date of construction is unknown, but the style and some documentary evidence suggest it dates prior to 1850. In recent years, a second site is being developed on Providenciales.

Turks & Caicos National Museum, Guinep House, Grand Turk.Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

Turks & Caicos National Museum, Guinep House, Grand Turk. Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

One of the premiere exhibits in the Grand Turk Museum concerns the Molasses Reef Wreck. About 1513, on a reef located on the southern fringe of the Caicos Bank some 20 miles south of the island of Providenciales, a ship sank. This ship, known only as the Molasses Reef Wreck, is the oldest European shipwreck excavated in the Western Hemisphere. The Museum’s first floor is dedicated to what archaeologists, scientists, and historians have discovered about this wreck. The second floor of the Museum is dedicated to the History of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Some of the very interesting exhibits are its first (pre-Columbian) inhabitants, the Lucayans, along with Slavery and Emancipation, the Salt Trade, the Government, and TCI's famous stamps.

The Botanical and Cultural Garden was revamped after the devastation of Hurricane Ike in September 2008, and is receiving attention after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Tours of the Botanical Garden are run in normal conditions.

Turks and Caicos provides extremely good opportunities for bird-watching, and the Museum partnered with UKOTCF to help establish bird-watching tours throughout Grand Turk, especially along the many salt ponds, which need protecting. These salt ponds are home to a unique variety of birds, and in situations in which water-birds regularly approach people much more closely than almost anywhere else in the world. This was then extended to produce guide-books to each of the main islands which can be purchased online

Together with UKOTCF, and the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources, and with a grant from the Royal Bank of Canada, the Museum established a demonstration garden, which uses rainwater harvesting at its new site on Provo (project page). Once established, local RBC staff, together with DECR, continue to add to, and tend to, the garden to keep it going.