Press Release

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sustainable Development
Archives and Records Management
Heritage, Tourism
Release Date:
Tuesday, 4 June 2024 - 10:54am

The Virgin Islands National Archive will host a mini exhibition titled 'From Property to Proprietors: The Virgin Islands’ Legacy,' in observance of International Archives Day next week.

Director of the Archives and Records Management Unit Dr. Angel Smith said following the observance of International Archives Day on June 9, an exhibition will be held on June 10 that will delve into the intricate tapestry of land ownership in the Territory.

Dr. Smith said, “Visitors will have the opportunity to explore estate records documenting enslaved persons as property, shedding light on a significant chapter in our history.”

The director stated that the exhibition will showcase deeds illustrating the remarkable journeys of enslaved individuals who purchased their freedom, as well as land transactions where free black individuals acquired property long before emancipation.

A highlight of the exhibition will be a juxtaposition of photographs from the 1900’s alongside contemporary images, offering a visual narrative of the evolution of land ownership in the Virgin Islands over the past century. Through this exploration, attendees will gain a deeper appreciation for the enduring legacy of land ownership and its profound impact on the development of the Virgin Islands.

Dr. Smith said the observance of International Archives Day under the auspices of the International Council on Archives (ICA) highlights the significance of records and archives in preserving collective heritage and shaping people’s understanding of history.

"The Virgin Islands National Archive holds the memories of the Territory and preserves our heritage long after living memories have failed,” Dr. Smith said.

He added, "As the primary source of archival information in the Territory which comprises primarily of government records from the 1800s, including government records, family histories, church records, and local newspapers. This institution is an invaluable source of information that allows us to tell the story of the Virgin Islands."

Dr. Smith said the objectives of International Archives Day resonate deeply with the ethos of the Virgin Islands National Archive, which stands as a custodian of the Territory's memories and a vital repository of its heritage. 

He said the mini exhibition, 'From Property to Proprietors: The Virgin Islands’ Legacy,' will be held at the National Archives location on Russel Hill Road and will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free, and all are invited to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Virgin Islands.

The Virgin Islands National Archive serves as the custodian of the territory's rich historical heritage, preserving invaluable records that chronicle the journey of the Virgin Islands through time. 



Sonjé Greenidge

Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Telephone: 468-2742