Falkland Islands Museum & National Trust
By Stefan Heijtz
The Museum is primarily, but not exclusively, showing the history of the Post Office at Fox Bay, and the displays include a counter with postal artifacts, the old wooden rack of mail boxes, mail bags, the old Post Office safe, as well as information about and pictures of old postmarks and covers sent from Fox Bay from 1899 onwards. One of the more remarkable discoveries was a part impression of one of the old Fox Bay postmarks (type FB.2 or FB.3) on one of the floor boards in the Old Post Office!
The displays in the Museum can be grouped into four sections, and there are pictures of all attached:
1. The history of the house as such
2. The history of the FB Post Office including an article written by the FB Postmaster between 1909 and 1912
3. The history of the postmarks used at FB between 1899 and today
4. A display of old covers from Fox Bay.
The residents of Fox Bay have been most supportive and interested in what has been going on, and very complimentary about the results. So many have a connection of some form to the house, and they have all loved seeing it being returned to its former glory.
The Museum is open on demand. When Stefan, who is also the Museum Curator, is not in Fox Bay, the Village Agents will be happy to open the Museum and House to anybody who wants to have a look, if they are not too busy with something else. And when Stefan is in Fox Bay, the Museum and House is open all the time.
Stefan gave a slideshow and talk on the renovation process during the FIMA meeting at the Historic Dockyard Museum on 12th January 2016.
Fox Bay Post Office
(photo © Government House F I)
MAJOR DONATION TO THE FOX BAY POST OFFICE MUSEUM
The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) has very generously donated a more than 100 year old original full size Pillar Box (see picture) from the King Edward VII period, to the Post Office Museum at Fox Bay. The Pillar Box will be erected outside the Museum entrance but will not be used for mail regularly, only at special occasions. The Pillar Box weighs some 400 kgs and it has been logistically interesting to ship it from England to the Falklands. Roy McGill at South Atlantic Trading has very generously shipped the Pillar Box from England to Stanley free of charge, and Harold & Lisa Haulage have also very generously agreed to ship it from Stanley to Fox Bay free of charge. This kindness is very much appreciated.
The second season of renovations starts in early 2016 and Stefan will again be joined by Hugh Osborne in mid January and they expect to complete the renovations of the Old Post Office, including the outbuildings, this season.
Anybody passing through Fox Bay is more than welcome to have a look in the Museum and the House, and the kettle is always on. So please do stop by and give them a reason to take a break!
ROYAL VISIT TO THE FOX BAY POST OFFICE MUSEUM
On 21 January 2016 HRH the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence visited the Fox Bay Post Office Museum. The Princess Royal inaugurated the recently erected old Pillar Box (with the Royal Cypher of her great great grandfather King Edward VII) by posting the first piece of mail into it. Both the Princess Royal and her husband signed the visitors book of the Museum and they were very interested in the displays in the Museum and all the work that has been put into the renovation of the entire building, which is the oldest remaining Post Office building in the Falkland Islands. The whole visit was framed by beautiful sunny and warm weather, and was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody.
A cachet had been made for the event and special covers have been produced to commemorate the visit. These covers will be for sale through the FIPSG (Falkland Islands Philatelic Study Group) and all proceeds will go to the FIPSG Stefan Heijtz Research Fund, which offers financial support for research and publication within Falkland Islands philately.
The historic heart of Stanley