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Year in Review 2019

Take a look at what we did in 2019!

Changing Exhibitions of 2019

Alvin McLaughlin_ Steeped in Tradition

For thirty-two years, a retired mariner, welder, and collector chaired the Pirates Week East End District Heritage Committee to showcase the commonalities and individuality of the people, culture, and heritage of his community through historical objects. This exhibition was opened on International Museum Day in May 2019, replacing the Capt. Charles O. "Capt. Chuckie" Ebanks Exhibition.

In November 2018, we opened a new exhibition in partnership with Cayman Airways - celebrating 50 years of our National Airline. Check out enhancements to this exhibition, which will be open to the public until November 2020.

Last year, we celebrated 60 years of the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms with an exhibition telling the story of Cayman’s first Symbol of National Identity. This exhibition will be on thru Spring 2020.

"See Wha Ah Sayin?!" Radio Cayman’s ‘Talk Today’ Segment Sterling Dwayne Ebanks along with the Museum's Wray Banker. A light hearted look at Caymanian Language, Culture and History

Click on the links to watch archived shows

January 2019: "Aviation History" Guest: Norman Bodden

February 2019: "Western Union" [Postponed]

March - April 2019: "Easter"

May 2019: "Phosphate/Guano Mining" Guest:  Steve McField

June 2019: "Coxswain Groupa!" Guest: Alvin McLaughlin

July 2019: "Mr Willie Farrington 1"

August 2019: "Mr Willie Farrington 2"

September 2019: “SUWANEE” Guest: Capt Paul Hurlston, Janilee Clifford

October 2019: "PIRATES WEEK" Guest: Melanie McField, Darvin Ebanks

November 2019: "PIRATES WEEK 2"

December 2019: "MARCHERS" Guest: Renford Barnes

Tune In: 89.9 FM and 105.3 FM Listen online: Apple, Android apps
NEW! Shows live or on demand. Youtube

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National Museum gets a Facelift

The Cayman Islands National Museum building received a facelift when it went thru a roof renovation and painting project. These efforts were carried out to protect the building itself and the artefacts we are entrusted to preserve so that future generations can enjoy what the Museum has to offer. 


In addition to replacing it’s roof, the National Museum also replaced the entire front balcony to make it stronger and safer for visitors. The 200-year-old building was white-limed to breathe life into its historical appearance.


Quadrille Dancers win Gold 

The Museum’s Public Relations & Media/Design Specialist, Brian Watler Jr. has been teaching students from the Edna M. Moyle Primary School how to dance Cayman’s Traditional Quadrille. Beginning in September 2018, the students were taught the basics of the dance, the footwork, figures, and learned a choreographed piece, which they performed at the National Children’s Festival of the Arts in 2019, winning gold.


Museum Acquires New Van

Have you seen our new Museum van around town? We’re excited to have a properly branded van that invites guests to visit the National Museum on the Waterfront. 


The design features the National Museum Building, notch plaiting, illustrations of Cayman icons and Mr. Harvey - the Museum’s popular life-like, talking animatronic. 


North Side District Looky Ya! 

In March, we relaunched our District Looky Ya! Programme with the district of North Side. These Looky Ya! events serve to educate the public on our Islands’ rich culture and heritage. 

North Side was well represented - with a busload of seniors accompanied by Ezzard Miller - elected member for North Side, as well as Carol Saunds. Mrs Marcia Hulse prepared delicious food, while Mrs Zelmalee Ebanks provided smoothies, fresh fruit juices, and cakes.

Overall, it was a successful day and we thank all who came out and supported this event. 


CINM attends Red Sky at Night

We attended the Cayman National Cultural Foundation's Red Sky at Night festivities on the Harquail Theatre grounds. Shenice McField and Peggy Leshikar-Denton ran the Museum booth - selling items from our unique Museum Gift shop.

"Cayman Airways' Firsts" Speaker Series Lecture with Capt. Dave Scott and Norman Bodden

In March 2019, we kickstarted our Speaker Series lecture with a special Q&A session, moderated by Shenice McField, with Cayman Airways’ first Managing Director, Norman Bodden and Cayman Airways VP of Flight Operations, Dave Scott.  

Both men shared their memories of the company’s early years, how it developed from a single plane that flew three flights per week from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac. Prior to 1968, LACSA, the Costa Rican airline now known as Avianca Costa Rica, operated the Brac service. International flights at the time were provided by British World Airways, with service to Miami and Jamaica. 

The Cayman Islands Government purchased all of the shares from LACSA and formed what we know today as Cayman Airways Ltd. 

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Muzey the Mascot makes his debut

Muzey the Mascot, designed by Brian Watler Jr., made his debut when the Museum erected its new wayfinding signage around the Old Courts Building when it was under renovation. Look out for Muzey on our Social media pages, our website and eventually in our Museum Gift Shop.


Clifton Hunter High School student interns at the National Museum

As part of Clifton Hunter High School’s ‘Take a Child to Work Day’ –  Jaden McCoy (15), who has an interest in Graphic Design, gained work experience at the Cayman Islands National Museum shadowing Brian Watler Jr. The Cayman Islands National Museum opened the Alvin McLaughlin: Steeped in Tradition exhibition on Saturday, 18 May 2019 for International Museum Day, and welcomed Mr McCoy to design a logo for the event. Additionally, Jaden was able to get a behind-the-scenes look in exhibition design and curation alongside the Museum’s Curation & Collections Manager, Debra Barnes-Tabora. 

Tours at the National Museum (schools & special guests)

The National Museum welcomed thousands of visitors to Cayman's oldest standing public building, including 50 guided school tours and other special guests.

2019 Museum Memberships

Over 300 Members including 4 Corporate Members


Cayman Quilters Social at the Governor's Residence

Mrs Roper hosted the Cayman Quilters at the Government House for a social morning of quilting. Pictured here are quilters that added an element to this detailed masterpiece created in the 1990s, along with Mrs Roper - wife of the Governor. This quilt is part of the Museum's collection of over 9,500 artefacts.


See another finely and recently crafted quilt by the Cayman Quilters in the Cayman Islands National Museum stairwell.


Alvin McLaughlin Exhibition Preview

Museum Members, Government officials, friends, family, and well-wishers were invited to preview the Alvin McLaughlin: Steeped in Tradition exhibition. Mr Denom Bodden and Mr Gary Scott entertained the crowd with a live performance, while guests enjoyed refreshments prepared by the Caribbean Kitchen at the Old Gaol Cafe.


Delicious local food: Caribbean Kitchen at the Old Gaol Cafe

Throughout the year, visitors to the National Museum enjoyed delicious local food prepared by the Caribbean Kitchen. Located behind the Museum, the Caribbean Kitchen leases the Old Gaol Cafe  - providing visitors to the Museum, and our islands, with delicious local cuisine. Check them out whenever you're in the area - you won't regret it! 

Visitors in the Alvin McLaughlin Exhibit

International Museum Day 2019

The Cayman Islands National Museum opened its newest exhibition, Alvin McLaughlin: Steeped in Tradition on International Museum Day ("IMD") 2019. The exhibition, which will be on thru Spring 2020, takes viewers through the life of Alvin McLaughlin of East End who was heavily involved within the community of East End, and was an avid collector of historical objects. The theme of this year's IMD Celebration was "Museums as Cultural Hubs".

Speaker Series: Collecting and Caring for East End’s Historical Objects

In recognition of the opening of the Alvin McLaughlin: Steeped in Tradition exhibition, Alvin McLaughlin joined us for a Speaker Series lecture held in the audiovisual theatre in May to talk about his involvement with the East End Pirates Week Committee and his early years at sea.

We welcomed many visitors to the lecture, and will host a Part 2 in the near future.


Educating students on Careers at the

Cayman Islands National Museum

Prospect Primary School Career Day 

Each year, the National Museum is invited to share career options at the Museum with the students of Prospect Primary School (“PPS”). The largest primary school Career Day on the island, the PPS Career Day welcomed hundreds of students from various schools on the Island. We look forward to attending again next year!


John Gray High School Career Day

We’re always happy to be part of the John Gray High School Career day; encouraging the students to follow their dreams. Brian Watler Jr. and Shenice McField spoke with students about the importance of following their passions and pursuing a career that they will love for years to come.


Cayman International School Career Day

This year, we took part in the CIS Career Day - speaking to various classes in an informal classroom setting.


Bodden Town Primary School Career Day 

Launching its first ever Career Day, Bodden Town Primary invited us to take part and share with students the career opportunities at the Cayman Islands National Museum. 


Museum Staff Members

The National Museum bid farewell to Mrs Jennifer King and Miss Kezia Carter in 2019 and welcomed Mrs Deborah Maynard and Ms Rebecca Moore as Visitor Services and Retail officers in the Museum Gift Shop.


CINM Appoints new Board

In July 2019, the Cayman Islands National Museum appointed a new Board - with returning faces and new eager members. Mr Alfonso Wright (returning), Mr Craig Merren (new), Mrs Eziethame Bodden (returning), Mrs Pamela Webster (new), Mrs. Lois Kellyman (returning), Mrs Terri Merren (new) and Ms Natasha Powell (Ministry representative) are all members of the Board.

Pictured here are Museum Board and Staff Members at our 2019 Christmas Lunch at the Grand Old House.


Looky Ya! Mango Season at the Museum

On 6 July, 2019 The Cayman Islands National Museum hosted the 4th annual Looky Ya! Mango Season at the Museum. Locals and Visitors enjoyed traditional food, music, mango products, and a Mango Peeling competition, with Doreen Porter winning consecutively for the second year, and Aiyana Barnes winning the Youth Mango Peeling Champion title for the first time this year. 


 Mango Season was started in 2016 and has continuously grown in attendance. As the event continues to gain popularity, more and more vendors are signing up, and this year alone, we tripled our numbers! This cultural marketplace of locally made products showcased a wide variety of mango products, jewelry, visual art, traditional crafts, and more. 


Immersing in Cayman Traditions at our 2019 Summer Camp

At our Immerse Summer Camp in July, students ages 9‑13 learned about Cayman’s traditions and culture.


During the week-long camp, participants learned how to cook and bake Cayman delicacies, make rope, plait thatch and dance the Quadrille - one of Cayman’s traditional dances. 


Since its inception and launch in 2017, participation in the Immerse Summer Camp, which was started under the coordination of Brian Watler Jr. and Shenice McField, has tripled! Each camper enjoys the camp, returning the next year and bringing someone.


Our theme for next year will be on Cayman’s Maritime Heritage. Students will learn all about the ocean and our rich maritime heritage!


Cayman represented at Carifesta in Trinidad

The Cayman Islands National Museum sent two representatives to Carifesta - the region’s largest cultural festival in Trinidad & Tobago in August. Mr Jeralow Rankine of East End and Mrs Debra Barnes-Tabora showcased the rich culture and heritage of our Islands, with a display of local crafted items and net-making demonstrations. CINM ran the Cultural Heritage Booth along with Mrs Virginia of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation who told Anansi stories to the students and passersby at the event. 


"Hurricane Ivan" Speaker Series featuring CI National Weather Service, Hazard Management, CUC and Cable & Wireless

In September, we hosted a Hurricane Ivan 3-part Speaker Series where we were joined by Mr John Tibbetts from the Cayman Islands National Weather Service, Mrs Danielle Coleman from Hazard Management Cayman Islands,  Mr David Watler of Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd and Mr Tim Adam (former CEO of Cable & Wireless). 

Each lecture was very insightful - providing information on the role each organization plays in disaster management and Hurricane Preparedness as well as the recovery efforts of key organisations after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. 

Proceeds from all three lectures were donated to the Red Cross to assist the Bahamas in their recovery efforts after Hurricane Dorian.


National Museum represented at Museum Store Association ("MSA") Florida Chapter Conference

In September, Museum's Visitor Services and Retail Officers: Deborah Maynard & Rebecca Moore as well as PR & Media/Design Specialist: Brian Watler Jr. attended the MSA Florida Chapter Conference at the National Gallery. Each session provided valuable information on photographing, developing, pricing and selling Museum Gift Shop products. 


Older Persons’ Trip to the Museum

We’re happy to have hosted 60 seniors from various districts on Island at the National Museum today! It was an honour to have them visit and enjoy traditional porridge’s (Bottla, Cornmeal and Bullrush) prepared by Mr Alvin McLaughlin.

This year, the older persons really enjoyed themselves because of having more time to explore the National Museum galleries, and were reluctant to leave! 


Museum supports Heritage Day

at Cayman Academy

We’re happy to have been invited to attend the Cayman Academy Heritage Day on Wednesday, 16 October! The students looked amazing and listened intently to each presentation.


Mr Brian Watler Jr., and Miss Shenice McField gave students a trip down memory lane - with a look at traditional clothing and the importance of preserving our culture and heritage. Some students also learned how to dance the Quadrille. 


Museum supports Women's International Shipping & Trading Association ("WISTA") Conference

At request of the Ministry of Culture - a main sponsor of the WISTA Conference, we were happy to have played a role in sharing Cayman’s maritime heritage with 300 attendees of the WISTA International Conference held at the Marriott Beach Resort. The National Museum curated a mini exhibition using objects from the Museum's Collection, as well as had a pop up booth at the event with giveaways. 



CINM hosts Governor and invited guests at the National Museum for Pirates Week 2019

The National Museum, in partnership with the Pirates Week Office, hosted a special VIP event in the Museum Courtyard. Guests watched the Pirates Landing and Float Parade from the Museum balcony, while the Governor participated in the festivities.



Special Appreciation Ceremony - Members, Sponsors & Contributors

Thank you to all who attended our first annual Members’ Appreciation Event on 21 November 2019. Mr Alvin McLaughlin received the Ira Thompson Award for his significant contributions to the preservation of Cayman’s rich history and culture, while our Corporate Members (Cayman National Bank, Butterfield Bank, Kensington Management Group and GT Automotive Imports), Exhibition Sponsors (Cayman Airways, Water Authority and Celebrate Cayman) and Mr Omar McLean received the 25 Fathoms Award for their significant contributions to our National Museum. A special certificate was presented to our General Museum Members and Volunteers for their invaluable support — thank you all!



Museum's 29th Anniversary & Christmas Bazaar

Early Christmas shoppers galore! As part of our 29th Anniversary Celebrations, we hosted a Christmas Bazaar on Goring Avenue on 23 November 2019, with a variety of local artisans and creative vendors. It’s fair to say that it was a festive day!



Late Night Shopping at the Museum, Pre-launch & Ten Sail Book Signing

On 11 December 2019, visitors could get their last minute shopping done at the National Museum. Visitors enjoyed Free Admission to the Museum as well as complimentary refreshments and gift wrapping. The pre-launch of Cayman's 1974 Wreck of the Ten Sail book also took place in the Courtyard and maritime enthusiasts got their copies signed by Dr. Peggy Leshikar-Denton. Get your copy of the Wreck of the Ten Sail book in the Museum Gift shop!


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CINM joins Leadership Cayman panel on Culture & Heritage 

In December, Museum Director, Dr Peggy Leshikar-Denton, joined Leadership Cayman for a panel discussion on culture and heritage in the Cayman Islands at Pedro St. James. Joining Leshikar-Denton was Roy Bodden and Kaitlyn Elphinstone. The objective of the session was to look at Cayman’s culture and heritage – past, present and future and to provide an overview of the rich cultural heritage of the country’s history and the Caymanian identity and their contributions to our community.



CINM joins the Nixon House Relocation Project

Museum Director, Dr Peggy Leshikar-Denton, joined the Ministry of Culture, National Trust and representatives of the property in discussing the relocation of the Nixon House on Goring Avenue to the Mission House in Bodden Town. The expected relocation will take place in January 2020.



Miss Annie Huldah Animatronic

In celebration of its 35th Anniversary, The Water Authority pledged a large donation to sponsor an animatronic figure of Annie Huldah Bodden that will be displayed in our Courtroom diorama. Ms Annie will be a life-like animatronic, with state of the art technology, and will bring life to the Courtroom diorama in the Cultural History Gallery. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting addition to the National Museum. Exhibition opening in May 2020.


Old Courts Building Courtyard Exhibition Opening in 2020

The National Museum plans to reveal a courtyard exhibition interpreting the Old Courts Building. Using images from historical collections, sketches and illustrations, the National Museum will tell the story of the building from the 1800s when it was single story to present day. Exhibition opening in November 2020.

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