Museums should not merely be seen as places where artifacts documenting a country’s history are kept, but should play a role in a country’s future growth and development as well
Deputy Principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Professor Clive Landis, shared this view as he addressed delegates at the opening of the International Museum Conference this week at the Errol Barrow Centre for the Creative Imagination.
Professor Landis quoted Pro-Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, who stated that, “It is the working-class, ordinary men and women, who change the course of history and our own Caribbean experience has shown that.” Therefore, “Museums must not only document the work of the elites within our societies, but must also focus on the working class, whose identities can be found in some of the artifacts on display. Ideally, museums must become instruments of change and development, foster peace, promote transparency in governance, and play a greater role in the countries they serve,” he stated.
In noting one of the core themes of the three-day event, Itinerant Identities, Deputy Curator of the Barbados Museum, Kevin Farmer, said, “Globalization has made our world increasingly smaller, which puts us at a pivotal juncture in our history as we seek to understand who we are as a diaspora. During this conference, delegates will hear from a number of leading European, North American, Latin American and Caribbean scholars as we discuss the importance of museums and heritage institutions, and how those places define and reflect who we are.”
Topics under discussion include Exploring Migration, Natural Disasters and Community Resilience, Diversity Information, the Impact of Technology on Museums, as well as the impact of the 2015 UNESCO Recommendations on Museums and Heritage Institutions.
UWI is hosting the conference in collaboration with the EU-LAC Museums Project and the Museum Association of the Caribbean.