One of Cayman’s centrepieces of historical importance is set to re-open in the first quarter of 2009.
After a four-and-a half year hiatus following Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the Cayman Islands Museum has been fully restored and refurbished to retain its historical authenticity.
The facility showcases the Islands’ cultural heritage using modern amenities. The structure has also been strengthened to create greater resilience against potential weather-related threats.
Chairman Harris McCoy said most of the work that has been done on the museum is to keep the building looking as it did in the old days; with careful attention paid to every detail. The building has been completed but the exhibits have not been installed.
In an effort to preserve these priceless mementoes and conserve the heritage and culture of these island the museum is looking for interested persons or companies to fund exhibits, ranging from $2,000 to $300,000.
Planned features include an Object Theatre featuring Caymanian characters and Island images accompanied by music of Cayman natural history and heritage; a model of the islands undersea world and a spectacular satellite photograph of the Cayman Islands backdrop; a walkthrough corner diorama, which highlights cave environments and models of cave creatures; geologic beginnings of the Cayman islands chronicled in an exhibit that includes an eye-catching display of authentic fossils and rocks; a mosaic of habitats in the natural history gallery that gives visitors a three dimensional view of the islands; a submarine model and audio offering visitors an exciting underwater show; a mangroves diorama featuring species found in the wetland; a rocky shore cliff rock diorama offering a unique view of pinnacle rock habitats found in Cayman; a turtle nesting diorama with a close-up view of sea turtles and their behaviours; an interpretation of the judicial system in the old court house; cultural vignettes highlights the life-ways of the Caymanian people and Life on the Sea, which depicts the strong link Caymanians had with the sea. The Gift Shop will open with a feel reminiscent of the Cayman yesteryears.
.Donating to this worthy cause offers many benefits said Mr. McCoy. Corporate donors of CI$20,000 are designated members of the Heritage Guardian Society; $10,000 donors will join the Silver Thatch Society; benefactors may contribute $5,000 or more and those who contribute $1,000, $5000 or $100 will be designated sponsors, donors and contributors.
The annual membership fees for the general population are: seniors/students $10; individuals, $25; and families $50.
An archaeological dig is also being carried out in the building in the Old Goal where the Gift Shop was located. Sheetrock and old paint have been stripped away to reveal a graffiti wall, which is been carefully preserved. Another feature of significance historical importance is an underground cistern, which has been framed for viewing by means of a glass panel.
The Museum structure has been home to the Islands’ first Grand Court, locale of the Islands’ Parliamentary meetings, first Postal Services, first Secondary School, Lands and Survey Department and many others.
The old complex was renovated in 1990, when it debuted as home to the Cayman Islands National Museum.