24th Annual Museum Association Of the Caribbean General Meeting
The Museum Association of the Caribbean (MAC) is holding its twenty-fourth annual general meeting under the theme “Pooling our Resources: Collaborations, Connections and Partnerships.” The goal is to develop concrete ideas and policies on how the association can address the challenges of museums in the region. The meeting is expected to convince the Ministry of Education throughout the Caribbean to put museology as a core subject in schools. And on this occasion, a new president of the MAC will be chosen. News Five spoke with the outgoing President Cyril Saltibus as well as Director of the Museum of Belize, Sherilyn Jones on the four-day conference.
Sherilyn Jones, Director, Museum of Belize & Houses of Culture
“The Museum of Belize is located here by the Central Bank Compound. The establishment of the houses of cultures is like an extension, an arm, of the museum because everything is so Belize City centric. We felt that we needed presence in the different municipalities in the districts and hence the houses of culture. They do community base art programs and they do sometimes some of the programs that we establish at the museum but in their level. And they coil it and do it for their community. So like in Benque there is strong tradition and so they keep along the traditional ceremonies and activities that used to happen alive.”
“Where does Belize lie when it comes to the mandate of the museums and the houses of cultures?”
Cyril Saltibus, President, Museum Association of the Caribbean
“Oh you are somewhere at the top. There is an appreciation; the government shows a lot of appreciation for that and that is why you all have invested over the years into changing the prison into an museum. This is why the government has committed to supporting this museum. I can let out a secret is that I’ll be vying for Miss Sherilyn Jones to actually be the President of MAC; after I step down on Wednesday because she has done such a marvelous job in planning this conference. There is a reason for us to protect our history; there is a reason for us to save our patrimony. As a people, we cannot move on if we do not know about our past. So this is the reason why we are here; we need to bring museologist together, we need to bring archeologist together so we can share ideas. We are all from Africa, we are all from Europe; we are settlers and we share common goals and we share common things. So it is also good for us to share common practices of how we preserve our patrimony.”
“One of the main challenges that we have is of course being relevant and being innovative enough that Belizeans want to come inside our doors. We do wonderful exhibitions, but very few Belizeans come in. They see the building as a place where foreigners go, or where tourists visit. So how do we bridge that gap where there is disconnect between what Belizeans feel and understand and think about the museum and how do we get them through the doors.”
Jones says that she would like to see the development of a national museum in the Capital.