Last week the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands joined Caribbean museum colleagues, curators, educators, scholars, and researchers from 15 Caribbean countries for the Museums Association of the Caribbean’s conference ‘Cultivating Resilience in Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites.’ The 18 sessions across three days featured discussions about how museums have adapted in the pandemic, new engagement methods, new developments on the preservation of historical sites and indigenous cultures, museums and their role in climate action, inclusion, and social justice, and more. Over 15 countries were represented at the conference, including St. Maarten, Bermuda, Belize, Bahamas, Canada, Cayman Islands, Panama, Haiti, St. Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, United States, and the Netherlands.
The National Gallery was represented by Education Manager Maia Muttoo who presented on the NGCI Art and Wellness programme, a project that was developed in early 2021 to promote the Gallery as a venue for resilience and wellness in response to the impact of COVID-19.
NGCI Director Natalie Urquhart joined a panel to discuss how NGCI adapted virtually through online programmes and exhibitions alongside colleagues from the Bahamas, Bermuda and the US. The Cayman Islands was also represented by Cayman Brac’s Simone Scott who is one of nine scholarship recipients for this year’s convening.
In addition to the formal presentations and panels by museum and cultural professionals around the conference topics, the programmes included virtual tours of Caribbean museums, networking and mentorship opportunities for both established and emerging professionals, as well as social events highlighting the cuisine, music, art and culture of the Caribbean. NGCI was a proud conference sponsor of the daily wellness segment which featured Cayman’s Janine Martin and Mirabella D’Cunha leading delegates through online yoga and meditation.
National Gallery Director Natalie Urquhart, a former MAC President (2017-2020) who continues to serve on their Executive Committee, said: “MAC provides an invaluable network for museums and cultural professionals across the Caribbean, with the aim to share and benefit from our common skills and experiences. Members are committed to exchanging information and ideas, working on collaborative projects, and conserving and preserving our common natural and cultural heritage. This year’s conference is no exception and our whole team was looking forward to the learning opportunities that the multiple sessions provided.”
Conference sessions will remain online for six months following the close of the gathering. For more information about the conference visit https://caribbeanmuseums.com/maccon2021/