The National Museum houses the original collection of Mr Ira Thompson and other artefacts.
Ira Thompson Collection
Celebrated as the father of Museums in the Cayman Islands, Ira Thompson collected almost everything. As a hobbyist, avid birdwatcher, and taxi man, Ira travelled extensively throughout Grand Cayman, showcasing his eclectic acquisitions in his Kiemanos Museum in the early 1930s.
His collection included manuscripts, prints, time pieces, musical instruments, fossils, animal specimens, household utensils and many tools of an era passing.
Today, among Mr Ira’s many contributions to the preservation of Caymanian culture is his 1,500+ object collection – the core of our permanent collection.
Natural History Collection
The Natural History Collection reflects the long tradition of scientific studies and expedition collecting in the Cayman Islands. Some of the specimens on display have their roots in the 1930s’ original Ira Thompson Collection; others are new acquisitions and discoveries. The collection includes sea fossils discovered on land, aviary taxidermy, seashells, and everything in between. Work continues behind the scenes, where staff, scientists and volunteers are carrying out collection and research activities.
Cultural History Collection
Showcasing the cultural treasures of Cayman’s people, The Cultural History Collection provides a tangible connection to early Caymanians through physical objects and representations of personal ideology. The collection expresses the influence of Cayman’s history and traditions on current cultural patterns, honouring customary skills such as turtling, shipbuilding, and rope making.
An extensive body of works depicting Caymanian natural and cultural life by both local and international artists, the Art Collection serves to support the Museum’s mandate to interpret Cayman’s history. Within this wider collection is the McCoy Collection, a gathering of pieces honoured with the McCoy Art Prize. The collection includes the mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and craft.