Bermuda represented at Caribbean museums conference
Bermuda was represented at a conference in The Bahamas exploring the “vital role” of museums in today’s society.
The Museum Association of the Caribbean held its annual conference which was attended by 150 delegates including Elena Strong, executive director of the National Museum of Bermuda and newly elected co-president of MAC.
Ms Strong was accompanied by Lisa Howie, NMB educational consultant, and Dr Crystal Clay, NMB trustee and founder of Olive Branch Consulting.
The theme of the conference was The Power of Museums: Relevancy, Advocacy, Transformation.
Attendees heard from more than 40 presenters representing the Dutch, French, Spanish and English-speaking Caribbean and with representation from the Caribbean diaspora from the US, Canada and Europe.
The keynote speaker was Terry Nyambe, the vice-president of the International Council of Museums.
Ms Strong organised a listening session at the conference with museum leaders and ICOM representatives which was facilitated by Dr Clay.
The aim of the session, funded by Smithsonian’s Our Future: Reckoning with our Racial Past and National Museum of African American History and Culture, was to gain clarity on the strengths, needs and challenges of the Caribbean museum sector and to explore pathways to foster greater collaboration across the region and with ICOM.
MAC will use the information gathered from the session to guide future work and services to the Caribbean museum sector. The findings will be published and made available to constituents, cultural and government bodies and funding organisations.
Ms Strong said: “Even though we know Bermuda is not geographically located in the Caribbean, we share many familial, cultural and historical ties, and a colonial experience.
“NMB also operates in a similar context to Caribbean museums – we have a small staff and limited resources and are impacted by hot, humid environments, and frequent hurricanes.
“What was evident from the conference is the vital role that Caribbean museums, including Bermuda museums, are playing in their local community but also globally.
“At the conference, attendees heard about how Caribbean museums are critical in shaping identity, undertaking research, sharing multiple perspectives and the lived experiences of people, challenging the dominant narrative, restitution of colonial collections, advancing the global definition of a museum, preserving heritage, fostering wellbeing and making communities stronger.”
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