The Cayman Islands National Museum hosted Business after Hours on Thursday, 15 January, luring several hundred members of the Chamber of Commerce with free tours of the recently restored building on the George Town waterfront.
Fundraising chairman Simon Palmer told attendees it had been a long and challenging process to restore facilities damaged by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
‘However, our task is only half complete,’ he continued ‘We now need you to join us in re-establishing a modern and vibrant museum service for all in the Cayman Islands.’ One way to help is by becoming a member of the museum, he explained. The second way is by sponsoring exhibits.
Chamber president Eddie Thompson noted ‘Traditions help define who we are as a Caymanian people. Not only are these buildings of historical significance themselves, they will be home once again for artefacts, items of significance and as a cultural learning centre for us all…. The formal exhibits feature more than 2,000 items depicting the natural, social and cultural history of our islands’.
After speeches, people were invited to walk through the building, eight at a time. In each room a volunteer guide pointed out distinctive features, described what type of exhibit will be installed and answered questions.
Downstairs guide Mennen Brooks revealed the site of government’s first vault and gathered visitors around a five-thousand gallon cistern, discovered during post-Ivan repairs.
Upstairs guide Georgi-Ann Jackman pointed to supports painted black in the wood walls. They have been added for reinforcement against future storms.
Guests familiar with former attractions asked about their favourites: the three-dimensional model of the Cayman Islands as tops of mountains near the Cayman Trench; the old fisherman and his catboat; hand tools and cooking utensils. Large colourful sketches showed how and where such items will be displayed.
Chairman of the Museum Board of directors Harris McCoy said he was leased by the level of interest people expressed as they stayed well past the usual refreshments part of the evening.
He looked forward to hearing from potential sponsors, whose contributions will be recognised with plaques and on a sponsors wall in the museum courtyard (Caymanian Compass, 18 December).
Sponsorship opportunities range from $4,000 and $30,000, with the median around $5,000, Mr. Palmer said. The committee hopes to raise some $500,000 ‘to help pay for exhibit development by a professional museum exhibit design company in the US’.