New museum website goes live

A new website for the Cayman Islands National Museum went live last month.

As a key feature of the new site, www.museum.ky, interested members of the public can, for the first time, access at the touch of their fingertips select items in the National Collection.

The National Museum returned to public visitation in January, initiating phase one of its year-long re-opening programme. The Museum is now poised for phase two, anticipated to commence in summer 2009. Highlights of phase three will be the launch of the Natural History and the Cultural History galleries, and the premiere of the Audio-visual Theatre.

‘The unveiling of the website marks a new milestone for the Museum as we now put technology to work, enabling greater access by the Cayman public to the artefacts which together tell the story of our history and culture,’ said Board Chair Harris McCoy. Commenting on the timeliness of the re-development of the site, Mr. McCoy said: ‘The old website was some 15 years old; this revamping substantially updates its technological capability in line with public expectations.’

Mr. McCoy said that Museum anticipates ultimately uploading around 200 images on a rotating basis drawn from the 7,000 plus objects now in its collection, a process that is currently underway. Viewers logging onto the homepage should select Collections, an icon featuring a drop down menu of Natural History and Cultural History, which will display uploaded images on request.

The homepage is designed to feature current exhibits in the Changing Gallery when it becomes operational later this year. As its name implies, this gallery will revolve in line with a schedule of exhibits on Caymanian culture, and is expected to attract special interests as well as a wider audience. Members of the public wishing to be kept abreast of new exhibits need only log on to www.museum.ky for updates. Viewers may also access information on permanent exhibits as well as Museum maps.

Another key area of the Museum’s work that the site will be communicating about and that will greatly benefit from its strengthened capability is public education, which has taken on new verve with the appointment of an Education Officer. Through the education programme, target groups such as schoolchildren will build connections with the Museum; dramatizations, live as well as in video format, will enrich exhibit experiences, while tapping into local funding; and a troupe of players will be prepared to perform storytelling, skits, dances, and puppetry. Additionally the Museum’s education programme is developing a series of cultural courses which will be offered to all on-island businesses and corporations.

In line with this community out-reach effort, the Museum will be introducing a Children Gallery, which is anticipated to attract the keen interest of parents and teachers, who will be kept abreast of this gallery’s revolving initiatives. To be opened in phase 3, the gallery has been designed for safe, hands-on learning through exploration and play. Features may from time-to-time include recreations of forests and marine voyages full of sights and sounds, with its technological environment allowing virtual engagement of young minds. Its interactive environment will also invite young minds to explore and build, and learning labs. will teach about Cayman culture. There will be opportunities for painting and drawing – the sky is the limit for this vibrant gallery, said Chair McCoy.

Another big draw for Museum audiences will be the Audio-visual Theatre, with its intermittent spotlights adding an element of surprise, and its music and sound-effects amplified by surround-sound systems. Details of the schedule of this 15- to 20-minute multi-media production on life in the Cayman Islands will be available online. It is currently anticipated that the show will start every half hour.

Members of the public who may wish to become members or donors of the Museum may also access relevant forms and information online.

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