The Barbados Museum & Historical Society was established in 1933 by an Act of Parliament. The Museum began as a historic society founded by Mr. Eustace Maxwell Shilstone. At that time, the mandate of the historic society was to "to study and put on permanent record the history of the Island, its leading families and public men, old buildings and other matters of interest to antiquarians in Barbados and overseas".
By June 23 of that year, a temporary exhibition was opened by the Acting Governor at Queen#8217s Park House. Three months later the Society secured the 99 year lease of the former military prison, which became the permanent home of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.