Forking off Main Street, Fort Street twists its way up a steep hill past the imposing Methodist Church and some attractive but dishevelled colonial architecture on its way to one of the most prominent sights in town, Fort King George. If the precipitous fifteen-minute walk looks too much and you decide to drive, you can almost always find a parking space in the car park adjacent to the museum and main fort. The complex is the largest fortification in Tobago, built by the British in 1777 and initially composed of some thirty buildings, but reduced to around ten by an 1847 hurricane. It was occupied by French troops between 1781 and 1793, who built the solid stone perimeter walls. Inspired by the French Revolution, the soldiers mutinied in 1790, imprisoning their officers and razing the town below. There are several signs dotted around the complex giving some background to the buildings, and you can also get a guided tour from one of the THA personnel in the Tourism division, to the left of the car park at the top of the fort area.
Laid out in the cool confines of the refurbished Officer’s Mess, the Tobago Museum has a small but fascinating collection of idiosyncratic artefacts, with displays on everything from Amerindian society to life in the nineteenth century (as well as, rather incongruously, many pieces of Nigerian sculpture). There’s an extensive collection of pre-Columbian axe-heads, chisels, cooking ware and talismans, known as adornos, found at Amerindian sites across the island, as well as three skeletons unearthed at Amerindian burial sites. Look out also for satirical prints depicting the exploits of “Johnny Newcome in Love in the West Indies”, and a copy of the second edition of the Pleasant Prospect of the Famous and Fertile Island of Tobago by John Poyntz, the pamphlet which local legend claims Daniel Defoe used as the inspiration for the setting of Robinson Crusoe.