Monday, May 18, 2015

Towards A State of the Art Museum for Trinidad and Tobago Statement #InternationalMuseumDay

Statement by the Chair, National Museum and Art Gallery
Dr Kris Rampersad
On the occasion of International Museum Day, May 18, 2015

The theme allows us to reconsider the role of museums and what is needed to reposition ours to become a key driver of social and economic transformation through enhancing and protecting cultural diversity, natural history, sharing conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity and expanding economic bases of income and employment generation.It is time we begin thinking of creating, investing and budgeting for a state of the art museum for Trinidad and Tobago. Our heritage has certainly outgrown the walls of the existing Royal Victoria Institute on upper Frederick Street in Port of Spain, established as a museum of science and natural history in 1892.
While the Royal Victoria Institute building remains iconic to our history and heritage and indeed as the headquarters of our national museum system, it has insufficient space to accommodate the rich array of national heritage.
As we move to develop a satellite of associated museums that embraces The Museum of the City of Port of Spain, Fort San Andreas in South Quay, and engage with community museums, a state of the art museum will allow for the kind of walk-in exhibition spaces, interactive engagement, digital displays that modern publics expect of an institution bearing the title of national museum. For this we also require enhanced training and capacity building of human resources as well as substantial investments that demonstrate recognition for the inherent value that will accrue towards strengthening heritage as an industry and provide spin off advantages of social inclusion and aligned social, economic and political stability.
This NMAG Board is committed to advanceing understanding and appreciation of a museum as the catalyst of the cultural heritage sector, with a substantive place in economic diversification, employment and generation . A museum as a facility which through its displays researches, interprets and represent a society is crucial to conveying national identity, as it is in educating, interacting and engaging not just national and international population, provoking and interrogating as well as articulating, refining and pointing to points of progress.As we prepare for the 2015 General Elections, it might be prudent for political parties contending for leadership of Trinidad and Tobago over the next five years to include proposals to harness and leverage the heritage of Trinidad and Tobago in their manifestos and hustings’ proclamation so as to enhance the timbre of debate and build awareness among the population to meet expectations for a more substantial development agenda.We look forward to partnering with the corporate and industrial sectors as well as among NGOs and academia to help build and develop the National Museum and Art Gallery into an institution in which Trinidad and Tobago, its diaspora and indeed the global community can take pride and we look forward to welcoming you to the displays at the Royal Victoria InstituteWith Warmest Wishes for a Happy Museum Day
Dr Kris Rampersad
Chair, National Museum and Art Gallery.
Photo Above: Chair of the National Museum and Art Gallery, Dr Kris Rampersad (right) meets with staff of the National Museum and Art Gallery and engage in discussions on improving the delivery of services at the Museum. Photo courtesy Rubadiri Victor, NMAG board member.

Photo: Dr Kris Rampersad, Chair of the National Museum and Art Gallery assisted by lifecoach Philip Rochford leads a retreat of the Board of the National Museum and Art Gallery at the conference room of the National Botanic Garden The new board met to plan vision, mission and strategic directions for NMAG. Photo Courtesy Dr Marsha Pearce.

New Review LiTTscapes in Commonwealth Journal from Editor, Financial Times, London: