The Barbados Museum and Historical Society is hoping to raise an as yet undisclosed sum to redesign its ongoing exhibitions, as well as to launch new projects which Director Alissandra Cummins says are long overdue.
Yesterday morning the museum began its efforts with the launch of its Scarlet Gala planned for the museum on May 31 at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 8 p.m.
Cummins told the media at the launch at the museum’s Garrison, St. Michael headquarters that traditionally, museums did a review of their exhibits’ development plans every 10 years or so, and having received a mandate from back in the 1980s regarding the local development, they were now well overdue for the work they were planning going forward.
“In the life of any professional institution regular changes happen about every seven to 10 years and usually are what shape the vision of the museum through its permanent exhibitions. So we are a decade or so late and in the meantime, the museum’s collections have developed so much; in the meantime also, new knowledge about the history and development of this island has occurred.
“The museum has had a national mandate to tell this comprehensive national story since 1983 and so our responsibility is to keep new knowledge available through many different formats. We do that regularly through programming, … temporary exhibitions and new publications, our lectures … which we are very pleased to move towards now with the launch of this major project,” she noted.
Council President, Senator Dr. Trevor Carmichael hailed the work of the museum thus far noting that the 80th anniversary was an opportunity to review developments before and plan the way forward.
“An anniversary in many respects is like an ideology because it is an opportunity to reflect on the past, to look at what we are doing, but I think even more important, it gives us an opportunity to look to the future in terms of our programming, in terms of our policies. In many respects an anniversary is a rededication and a rejuvenation and I would like to think that we should do this efficiently, effectively and with fun and hence we start with a dance,” he said to media and sponsors at the launch.
Chief sponsor, CIBC FirstCaribbean noted that they considered it a major part of the bank’s social responsibility and history of assisting communities in preserving their past. As such, CEO Rik Parkhill said they had a strong interest in the expansion of the local museum and had thrown their support behind the Scarlet Gala and the institution’s future development.
Development Officer Linda Branch said planning for the 80th anniversary celebrations began back in 2010, with a committee being put in place last year to work out the finer details, as May 31 is the actual anniversary date.
Funds from the Gala, she noted would go towards the redevelopment of the exhibits, promising that it would be a night of elegance, magic and fun, where a new centre-piece exhibit would be unveiled showing some of the island’s unique artefact that are in the possession of the museum. (LB)