In 1991 the Museum opened, and it soon decided that on the Saturday closest to November 21st each year, the Museum would hold a special celebration – A Museum Day! This idea was resurrected in 2000 and each year the Museum celebrates the anniversary of its opening with a range of activities. Here are some highlights of past celebrations.
Museum Day 2009
On November 21st the Turks & Caicos National Museum celebrated its 18th anniversary. A two-day event was held on November 27-28. One day focused on children’s activities and one day focused on an adult program. The weekend was marked with tremendous rain storms that affected all programming, resulting in a low turnout on Saturday and the postponement of the Sunday program to Tuesday December 1, 2009.
The children’s program day began with a tour of the Museum. They also received a hands-on lesson about the conservation of iron artifacts, which focused on learning about the various weights of cannon balls. At the end of the tour the children had 30 minutes to complete a quiz that was based on their museum experience.
The next event that followed was the “Wrecking” hunt where the children were paired and a staff person was assigned to monitor them while on their scavenger hunt. While the “Wrecking” Hunt was going on we had face painting for the rest of the children who were waiting.
Children were excited and were eager to go on their quest to find the treasure. Their favorite part was at the end of the quest where they had to go up the slide that was built in the science building using new filing cabinet card board boxes. When they crawled to the top of the slide they had to draw a donkey attached to a salt cart. At the end of that the team had to slide down the slide.
The postponed adult program for Museum Day was a great program. The event was held in the science building and the labs and classroom were open with several rare artifacts on display. A brief presentation was delivered about the Fort George Cay archaeological project. One guest commented that it was the “best event” they had ever attended at the museum.
Museum Day 2001
2001 saw the 10th Anniversary of the Museum’s Opening and it was decided that the Museum Day this year would be when the Museum would celebrate this milestone.
In life we all have to make sacrifices for good causes. Since the age of 18 the Museum Director, Nigel Sadler, had had a moustache, in fact for half of his life. Due to peer pressure: its amazing how many friends had wanted him to shave it off, he decided that it would take a good cause for this to happen. Well, he hit upon the idea of a sponsored shave, with all money raised going towards the Museum Endowment Fund, and what better occasion could there be to do it than the 10th anniversary of the Museum opening. The event raised $600.
The mustache shaving was the last “event” that took place during the Turks and Caicos National Museum’s 10th anniversary. Earlier the visitors had been entertained by a performance from Eliza Simons Primary School. But probably the highlight of the day was the Cultural show put on by David Bowen, supported by his wife Beth, Dennis “Foots” Penn, Jedrick Taylor and Andrea Bean of the Museum. David performed storytelling and along with his colleagues performed several well-known local songs. At the end he was joined on stage by some of the children from the audience who danced with the performers.
Throughout the day the Museum sold sweets and biscuits made by Museum Assistant Andrea Been, hot dogs and gave away free sodas to the children, which had been donated by Mr Durham, a long time supporter of the Museum. The entertainment ended with a performance by Mitch Rollins. Mitch performed a special rendition of “Message in a Bottle” by the 1970s and 1980s pop group The Police to mark the forthcoming launch of the first 25 bottles as part of the Museum Message in a Bottle project.
Visitor’s to the Museum had been given tours of the garden, the Museum building and the research building. During the tours they learned about the work that the museum is doing. The day had also seen a children’s quiz, with questions based on the Museum Exhibits. The winners were Leigh-Marie Jagroup and Jernica Williams and the runners up were John R S Taylor, III and Cyre Ferguson, who were presented with their prizes at school during the following week.
Museum Day 2000
The Turks and Caicos National Museum Open Day held on Saturday 18th November, 2000 was a great success. Around 400 local people attended during the day and were entertained by the choirs from Ona Glinton School, H J Robinson High School and Eliza Simons School. In fact calling them choirs limited what they actually did. They also recited passages from books, played musical instruments and performed dances.
As well as the shows from the schools, Mitch Rollin gave a performance during which local children joined him on percussion. Guided tours of the Museum informed visitors of the Museum,s collection and its role in preserving the country’s heritage whilst a local student gave guided tours of the Museum Arboretum describing the uses of indigenous and imported plants.
The Museum assistants carried out sessions of face painting to keep the children entertained, whilst displays from the Victoria Library and Philatelic Bureau linked the Museum to education and tourism. Also Belonger and Museum Member, Mrs Roberts brought in examples of her handicrafts.
To help children get a feel of the history displayed in the Museum a quiz was set up. Around a quarter of the 63 entrants answered all the questions correctly and from these the Chair of the Museum Trustees, Sandy Lightbourne, drew three winners who were Gard Alleyne, Edward Hall Jnr. and Rikardia Pardo. The one question, which perplexed most entrants, was, who were the people who started the cotton industry in the Caicos Islands? (For those who don’t know it was the Loyalists fleeing from America, and not the Bermudans). Congratulations to these winners who were given a collection of books from the Museum shop.
The Museum staff were run off their feet all day, ending up tired but with a sense of satisfaction that so many people had come and enjoyed themselves. In fact the part time Museum assistants discovered new skills they never knew they had – they are now all accomplished face painters. Not to be out done several Museum Trustees came to assist and in the end sponsored the refreshments, but we couldn’t encourage any of them to have their faces painted.
This was the beginning of what will become a major annual event at the Museum. If you have any ideas what you would like to see as part of this event please contact us.