LC museum dedicated to mariners

Little Cayman is honouring the seamen who helped forge this country by creating the Little Cayman Marine Museum.

Mr. Linton Tibbetts

Mr. Linton Tibbetts is creating a marine museum on Little Cayman. Photo: Submitted

‘Those men made a tremendous sacrifice to earn a livelihood off the sea,’ said Mr. Linton N. Tibbetts, the museum’s creator. ‘The Marine Museum is just a small way I can give back to the community by helping document and preserve the maritime aspects of our history.’

Plans are to have a grand opening of the museum on 27 June.

On display will be photographs and paintings and nautical tools used to navigate at sea and for ship repair. Home will be in the former Baptist Church next to the Little Cayman Museum.

Mr. Tibbetts is joined in his efforts by his grandson, Mr. Kyle Hooker.

‘I’ve seen my grandfather’s passion for the museum and for preserving the heritage here, so my father and I have both become very involved with this project as well,’ said Mr. Hooker.

Their biggest priority is to ensure the items on display are well preserved and protected from the elements, and even repaired if necessary. Recently a delicate registry dating back to 1923 listing all the certified mail sent to Little Cayman was taken out of the showcase for its cover and pages to be restored.

‘We’re looking at ways to get both museum buildings airtight and using moisture-controlled showcases to protect the items on display,’ said Mr Hooker.

‘I’ve contacted as many of the sea captains’ families as possible, to encourage them to submit photographs or any other sea-related items they may have,’ said Mr Tibbetts. ‘The response so far has been wonderful. Still, I encourage anyone else out there who may have anything that is related to the lives we lived on the sea, to step forward and consider contributing to this very special museum.’

Many have answered that call, including Mr. Bob Soto, who donated a couple of diving helmets and lots of additional information about diving in the Cayman Islands from decades ago. Those same helmets, certainly relics of the past by today’s standards, were put to good use under the sea back in the mid-1970s by Mr. Soto and others to build the port in George Town.

‘There’s not anther collection like this anywhere. Mr. Linton Tibbetts is a tremendous citizen of these islands and I am so proud to have him as my friend,’ said Mr. Soto.

Mr Tibbetts has also relied on the Cayman Islands National Archives for some of the images of the more famous ships, such as the Cimboco and the Nunoca, on display in the museum.

All contributions of maritime memorabilia will be welcomed up until mid-June.

‘Items can be brought to Cox Lumber to my attention in Grand Cayman, to Kyle Hooker at the Cayman Brac Reef Resort, or to the Village Store in Little Cayman,’ said Mr. Tibbetts.

Also, if you have original photographs that you would like to have scanned to contribute to the Little Cayman Marine Museum collection, call 925-7487 to make arrangements.