By Patricia Saxton
In November we had some very interesting guests, all the way from California. A very young 89 year old- Miss Lolita “Lita” Taylor and her traveling companions, Alma Hayes and Ron Roth came to the Museum to see we had any information about Lita’s great-great grandfather Reverend John Turtle.
Rev Turtle was the first Methodist clergy, and had come to Grand Turk even before the church was built! Unfortunately he passed here in Grand Turk at the young age of 32 from “consumption”. We know this because we were able to bring up the death notices from 1825. We believe he is buried on the “island within and island” grave site, where many people were buried before the government cemetery was built.
Lita has done extensive research on her relative, which has taken her to the UK, where she found original letters, which were housed in the School of Oriental and African studies library at the University of London. Ms. Taylor also transcribed the letters and has donated copies of the originals and the transcriptions to our archives. Transcribing these letters is a very tiresome job, so the National Museum commends our new found friend for all of the hard work! It was such a pleasure to meet with Lita, Alma and Ron and to spend time with them. I am hoping we can we can see all of them again soon!
Children’s Club took place in mid-November, just in time to make some lovely Thanksgiving frames and to learn how to play the rip-saw from Grand Turk’s own “Zues”.
All the children got a chance at trying to play the saw! The music was great and a fund time was had by all!
The founder of the Footsteps4Good charity walk, Jill Beckingham, will walk across the main islands of the Turks and Caicos once again this year to raise money for charities in the islands. Last year the total raised was over $30,000 and Jill is hoping to increase that this year.
This year’s walk will start on 16th October at the lighthouse in Grand Turk. Jill will be joined by participants of all ages including children and students who will walk with her. “This year I would like to open the event to all children and students who would like to join me, and also raise funds for their schools”, said Jill.
The Provo Road Runners is partnering the event in Provo. They have already begun registration at IGA, IGA Gourmet and Quality supermarkets each Saturday. Paula Capehart, chair of Provo Road Runners said “We are very excited to be part of Footsteps again this year, which not only raises money for charity but encourages more people to start walking and running”. You can purchase a T-shirt and earmark your donation to the charity of your choice; you do not have to participate in the walk.
Last year the Museum received $2,000 from the event. This year our very own Museum team–Nicki, Angel, Fred, and Cecile on Grand Turk and Candianne on Provo–will be participating. Go TEAM! We hope that all of the organizations and their members will come out and support the participants!
For more information about the walk or to make a donation in support of the Museum or other organization, contact Jill Beckingham or Provo Road Runners. If you are on Facebook, visit the TCI Governor’s Facebook page for photos and the event schedule.
Look for more news about the event in our blogs.
The Museum was closed from September 1-15 to enable us to put in two new exhibits on the second floor. The funding for these exhibits came from HE Governor Beckingham’s office and also from funds donated in the memory of Mr. Finbar Dempsey.
The new “19th Century Office and Government Room” showcases a typical colonial office from the 1800-1900s. Many of the objects were donated by the Hugh Hutchings family or from the Museum’s collection. Among the objects are an original TCI flag with the infamous “igloo”.
The second is an updated and expanded exhibit that blends the story of the US military on Grand Turk during the 1960s and 1970s and the role that Grand Turk played in the “Race for Space”. The exhibit now is in a brighter room, with new information about the bases and the men that served in TCI. Still planned is the addition of a monitor with photos and videos from ex-servicemen. We thank all of the men and families who have generously donated their memorabilia and stories to the Museum.
We will have a grand opening of the new exhibits in November and HE Governor Beckingham will do the honors of ribbon cutting.
Details and dates to follow, and make sure your membership is up to date as it will be a member’s only event!
Summer Camp 2015 August 24-28, was a huge success! On the agenda numerous educational outings to keep our 8-12 year old campers smiling, inquiring and laughing as we started camp bright and early. With 4 days to see Grand Turk, the campers set out by foot, trolley and boat. First day they learned about our great Museum and Botanical and Cultural Garden guided by Bryan Naqq-Manco.
The next day, Mrs. Jill Beckingham opened her lovely home, Waterloo, for us to visit. The children learned about the house, which is 200 years old, and then enjoyed treats in the garden. Thank you also to Island Trams who transported the children to Waterloo and back!
Wednesday they were invited to the House of Assembly by Honourable Robert Hall, who is the Speaker of the House. The children learned all about the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands!
Thursday they walked along Front Street and met with numerous merchants. Unfortunately they didn’t have enough time to see all the merchants they had planned on visiting, but the kids learned a lot from Grand Turk Divers, Blue Water Divers, Turks Head Inn, Osprey Hotel, LIME and finished off with cookies from the Coral Café!
We had to postpone our annual Gibbs Cay outing due to weather, but we finally went on September 26 and had a great time! Thanks to Oasis Divers for taking us!
We thought would take an army of volunteers to help refurbish the phone booth. Every inch had to be sanded down, a base coat applied, followed by a top coat, and then all the new windows and signs set in place. Enter Seamus Day … again.
Instead of an “Army” of volunteers he arranged for the Navy to help! The first weekend in August four Royal Marine commandos from HMS Lyme Bay arrived to help. When they left, after a day of hand-to-hand combat with the box, it was ready for painting!
Neil Saxton and Charlie Kesnel finished the job a day later. Now all we need is the antique phone! Read more about the history of the telebox in the Fall Times of the Islands.
On August 8 and again on August 15, Winston Parker of AND Construction came to the Museum campus in the Village at Grace Bay to cleanup the rubble left over from the construction of the wall surrounding the Caicos Heritage House garden. The wall was built using local materials and traditional methods. The cleanup is hugely appreciated and is an example of the voluntary community support for this important project highlighting the history of the Caicos Islands.
Thank you AND Construction for your continued support of the Museum!
On Saturday August 1, 2015 we had a lovely visit from the Philippona family. You may recognize the name, as Ted Philippona donated his vast photo collection to the Turks and Caicos National Museum. Ted’s son, Derk and his family spent time going through the museum and seeing the new exhibits.
Our tour guide Fred Glinton remembered Ted Philippona when he lived on Grand Turk in the early 1960s, which made the tour even more special!
Our visitors Dr. Jerald Schreiber and Connie Goddard, Ph.D. are history and nature enthusiasts. They were unable to go to Grand Turk to visit the Museum so they were delighted to learn that the Museum had a presence in Providenciales and could pursue their history passion right here.
We had some great discussions as we went through the timeline in the Development Office and looked at the videos. They simply loved the Caicos Heritage House and garden as well.
Jerald is one of the visiting vets doing surgeries the Vet Clinic, whose wonderful service we and our animals are very grateful for. He and Connie, who is an historian and writer, visited us on his day off. They were delighted with their visit and they look forward to returning to see our progress towards a museum in Providenciales.
Thank you Dr. Schreiber for your volunteer service to our community.
We are happy to report that we have a new volunteer! Please give a warm welcome to Ms. Angel Ben. With a background in merchandising and business we are sure she can help us with gift shop buys and staging the gift shop. Angel will also be assisting in the library.
We are always looking for volunteers. Interested? Please email email@example.com.
If nothing else you will come away laughing because we have such a great fun staff with which to work!