Museum prepared for busy hurricane season

With a busier than usual hurricane season predicted for 2008, officers at the Cayman Islands National Museum can breathe easier with the enhanced resilience that has come with the restoration of the building and the new modular approach to exhibits.

The Museum has been undergoing a two-year planning and restoration programme since its 2004 devastation by Hurricane Ivan. It is scheduled to reopen in November and the grand opening will take place in January 2009.

‘We have built in as part of the restoration programme hurricane resistance that includes a strengthened building, and modular vignettes for our exhibits that allow quick access for quick retrieval and storage,’ said Acting Director of the Museum Debra Barnes-Tabora.

She said, artefact number one (the old Courts Building) has had careful reinforcements during the restoration, and the collections at the museum’s storage facility are maintained in a constant state of readiness.

That has meant meticulous attention to how and where we store various artefacts: ‘We categorise storage in order of susceptibility to elements such as water, data backup and recovery supplies, and then ensure that vulnerabilities are minimised as much as possible in the storage arrangements.’

In conjunction with that, the building restoration programme was expanded to include the installation of a steel framework for the museum and strengthening of the roofs of the three structures in the complex.

‘The building, which showed its mettle in Hurricane Ivan by standing up to the harbour-front battering, was well-built originally, so we are confident that that with these recent enhancements it should be good for another 100 years,’ said Mrs Barnes-Tabora. Business entrepreneur Linton Tibbetts, who is a Museum Trustee, made that projection during last month’s visit to the Museum.

While ensuring heightened preparedness for the new hurricane season, the Museum is gearing up for a membership and fund-raising drive, with a view to welcoming back members and attracting new interests, says Board Chair Harris McCoy, defining an all-inclusive approach.

Anyone wishing to help with fundraising should call 345-949-8368, or email [email protected].

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