The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands will host the 27th annual general meeting and conference of the Museums Association of the Caribbean next month.
Organizers said the conference, to be held Oct. 9-12, will bring to Cayman an international and Caribbean audience of museum directors, educators, academics and historians from as far afield as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
This will be the first regional conference hosted by the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, with support from the Ministry of Health and Culture, at the gallery’s new site on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.
The gallery’s director Natalie Urquhart said in a press release, “We were honored to have been selected to host MAC 2016 and are confident that our organization and facility, along the Islands’ infrastructure and vibrant cultural community, will ensure an informative, inspiring, and successful event for all participants. Importantly, is an exciting opportunity for the Cayman Islands to connect with our regional cultural partners and to provide a platform for continued inter-regional dialogue.”
The conference theme, “The Essential Museum – Redefining the Role of the Cultural and Heritage Sector for 21st Century Audiences,” was selected by the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands to address the evolving role that cultural entities can play within their communities, Ms. Urquhart said.
Established in 1987, the Museums Association of the Caribbean, known as MAC, serves as a key forum for the interchange of information and ideas for the cultural sector through meetings, publications and museum exchanges. Member organizations of MAC include traditional national museums, art museums, heritage facilities, university museums and cultural academics.
According to the press release, the conference presentations “will explore and question how museums can define and demonstrate public value in the modern age; how institutions can play integral roles in civic engagement, education, research, stewardship, and social change; how they can best serve their diverse audiences; and how the digital realm can help open up access for hard-to-reach communities.”
Twenty presentations are scheduled, including a keynote panel discussion with Dr. Veerle Poupeye from the National Gallery of Jamaica, Amanda Coulson from the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, and Ms. Urquhart.
Delegates will get to explore some of Cayman’s cultural sites, including the National Gallery, Mind’s Eye – The Visionary World of Miss Lassie and Pedro St. James, and will also visit West Bay and Bodden Town.
The schedule also includes an evening event presented by Cayman Islands National Museum, which hosted the 1995 MAC conference, showcasing the history of the Cayman Islands through the museum’s collection, along with local craft displays and food. The closing reception will be hosted by Governor Kilpatrick at Government House.
“This is a wonderful chance to showcase the very best of Caymanian culture to our regional guests and we are grateful to our sister cultural organizations for opening their doors and ensuring access to the full cultural offerings available,” Ms. Urquhart said.