An exhibit ‘steeped’ in Cayman tradition

Memories of old Cayman converged with the present on the George Town waterfront Saturday. As carnival revellers prepared for a third week of street parades, a different showing of Caymanian tradition went on display in the Cayman Islands National Museum.

Mariner, welder and collector Alvin McLaughlin unveiled the museum’s newest exhibit, ‘Steeped in Tradition’, a testament to his work to preserve island heritage.

For 32 years, McLaughlin chaired the Pirates Week East End Heritage Committee and during that time, he sought to weave Caymanian tradition and history into the celebration. Part of his work included his antiquities collection, an assortment of items that provide a glimpse into the islands’ past. Those items – from Grandpa Obediah’s swanky jar and a gas-powered clothes iron to copper kettles and silver pitchers – now make up the Alvin McLaughlin Collection housed at the museum.

An East End native, McLaughlin has been dubbed the ‘godfather of Caymanian heritage’ and he has spent a lifetime working to honour the islands’ seafaring history and cultural roots. On Saturday, he was joined by others dedicated to preserving island traditions. East End’s Jeralow Rankine displayed his talent in creating hand-woven fishing nets, while Carmen Conolly shared her historic and colourful embroidery work. Others, such as Rose May Ebanks and Marcieann Hydes, created thatch work.

Young islanders joined the fun as well, with children from Edna M. Moyle Primary School performing a quadrille dance in traditional dress.

For more about the museum and the exhibit, visit www.museum.ky.

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