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15 December 2009 – During the fall, the museum had two visiting archivists come the TCI in order to assist with the collections management of the archives and library resources.
The archival collections of the museum were reviewed to determine content and condition. Materials, except in rare cases, were organized into collections and accessioned into the museum database at the item level. The collection of newspapers was also accessioned into the archives.
The bulk of the collection consists of rebound copies of records donated by the government. Other collections include papers “relating to stamps”, reports from and about the Turks and Caicos Islands, personal accounts of the visits to the Islands, Dispatches and Reports from Jamaica and London from the 1800s to the 1900s, parish records of births and deaths, and a small report on the hurricanes of 1926.
28 November 2009 – Today the Turks & Caicos National Museum celebrated its 18th anniversary with a two-day event. 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.
8 November 2009 – With a license from the DECR, the blessings of the National Trust, support of the National Museum, funding from private donors, and leadership by Ships of Discovery, the archaeological exploration of Ft. George Cay began on October 23 and ended two weeks later on November 6, 2009. The exploration team was composed of seven individuals with local knowledge and expertise in archaeology, architecture, metal detecting, and photography.
Impetus for this project began in 2008 with the realization that after decades of casual artifact collecting, limited historical research, and mapping, there were still no answers to even simple questions such as: How big is the site? Is it confined to Ft. George or are the surrounding cays also involved? Which military units occupied the fort? How much of the site has been lost to the sea? Were British soldiers buried on the cay? The archaeological exploration of Ft. George Cay is only one part of a larger effort that includes, or will include, on-going archival research, artifact conservation and analysis, museum exhibit preparation, public relations, and management planning designed to make Ft. George accessible to the public without destroying its natural beauty in the process.
29 September 2009 – In August, the Turks and Caicos National Museum made a smashing success of the 2009 Summer Children’s Club program on Grand Turk. The club met every Tuesday afternoon for a day of cultural activities and field trips. The program was as much fun for the adults who attend as it was for the children.
Our first activity was a tour of historic Waterloo, the Governor’s residence. Guided by Mrs. Rosemary Wetherell, the club learned about the history of the residence and what it is like to live in the house. Dr. Neal Hitch, the director of the National Museum pointed similarities to Bermudian and colonial American architecture. The club participants also learned how to “read” a cannon with Mr. Sherlin Williams, who talked about the ceremonial filed piece on the porch of the house.
When the tour was over, the club continued on to Oasis Divers for a swim lesson and a snorkeling trip the BioRock, an artificial reef constructed by the DECR. The importance of protecting and preserving the reefs and coral of the TCI was discussed by Jodi Johnson. The short boat trip was followed by a beach BBQ.
The following Tuesday was a very exciting club trip on board the GT Land Adventures nature tour bus. One of the best tour guides on the island, Rudolth Francis, entertained the club by touring around Grand Turk seeing sites typically visited by cruise ship passengers.
“We learned about the island wildlife, had a chance to see some flamingoes that were located on the West Road ponds, and then we were lucky enough to save a small potcake that had fallen into a well at the historic North Wells site,” commented Aliatte Michel, the program coordinator. “Our one hour tour quickly turned into a three hours that was one of the most fun activities we have ever done as a club.”
Our last Tuesday was spent at North Creek kayaking around the different types of mangroves with the staff of Oasis Divers. It is said that the mangroves in the Turks and Caicos Islands are the most important habitat because it is the fish nursery that supplies our reefs. The club learned to identify the different types of mangrove trees and viewed the various types of sea creatures that live around the mangroves.
On the fourth and final excursion of the August program, the club spent the day aboard the Carnival Liberty cruise ship while it was in port at the Grand Turk Cruise Center.Both children and adults were captivated by a full tour of the ship. This was followed by a bountiful lunch on the Lido deck where we behaved as polite guests, but ate more than usual. After lunch the club had access to the on-board pools and water slide, which provided a great way to work off the bowls and bowls of ice cream.
The day aboard the cruise ship was one of the best Children’s Club events ever, especially with the help of the Oasis Divers and GT Land Tours staff. The Museum would also like to say a big thank you to the now past director of the cruise center, Mike Reimers, who was always a friend to the museum, and who went out of his way during his last week in the TCI to see that we had not just a good time, but a BEST time.
Dr. Hitch sums up the program like this: “this summer we had the best Children’s Club ever and this is owed to the remarkable tour businesses on Grand Turk, our fun filled staff, and mostly the children themselves.”
30 May 2009 – Funded through two Pine Cay Project grants, the after-school program opened the museum’s facilities to high school and college-age students who needed assistance getting school assignments completed owing to hurricane damage to both homes and other institutions, such as the local library. The program provided access to computers, printers, and copiers in a time when most did not have internet or libraries for research, or even electricity. This took place in the office/library of the museum.
This program ran for six months.It was started in November and continued until the end of May. Dinah Samuelson, an intern, ran the program and while she offered minor tutoring help and answered questions, her main responsibility was to facilitate and oversee the program. The program achieved its objective to have 2-4 students a day, to see an increase in grade marks specifically from this program, and to create a safe haven for students in a post-hurricane environment.