The Museum Board has announced the retirement of Museum Founding Director Anita Ebanks, effective 2 July 2008.
The Museum’s Deputy Director of Curation and Programmes, Mrs. Debra Barnes-Tabora, a 24-year-veteran of the Civil Service, 19 years at the Museum, will serve as Acting Director until a new executive director has been appointed.
On retirement, Ms Ebanks will have completed more than three decades service to the Cayman Islands Government. ‘My personal and professional growth throughout this time has been immense and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that being a part of the Cayman Islands Government and the National Museum have given me,’ she said.
In receiving note of her retirement, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms. Angela Martins, stated: ‘The Ministry recognises Ms. Ebanks’ significant contribution and dedication to serving the people of the Cayman Islands and wishes her all the best in her retirement. We know that she will continue to be an important supporter of the work of the National Museum specifically, and culture in general.’
During April’s Museum Board meeting, members voted to bestow the honorary title of ‘Founding Director Emerita’ on the departing director. The term is used when a person in a given profession retires, so that his or her former rank can still be used in his or her title.
The retiring director’s museum career commenced when she was appointed Museum Officer in 1984, prior to the institution’s grand opening in 1990. She was then engaged in research and planning that led not only to the establishment of the National Museum but also to that of the National Archive.
Over the years, she served on a multitude of government boards and committees, especially those relating to various facets of culture and national heritage. She was a founding member of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF), the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.
Ms Ebanks commenced her government career with the National Council of Social Services, later serving as a history and social studies teacher. She subsequently served as librarian at the John Gray High School, from where she was involved in establishing libraries in government primary schools.
These services were recognised with the award of the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour (Cert. Hon.) in 2000.
The Acting Director, Mrs. Barnes-Tabora, underscored the pioneering role of the retiring director: “Ms Ebanks dedicated her life to the preservation of Caymanian culture and heritage. As a staunch pioneer, she has paved the way for most of the other cultural organizations. It has been my honour to have worked with her and to have shared in her vision. I wish her well in her future endeavours.”