111 Pages of history | Barbados Today

Pages of history

New book focusing on regional museum development

History was created this morning with the launch of a new publication.

Plantation to Nation, is the first book which focused on the growth and development of museums and museology in the Caribbean.
At the launch held at the Barbados Museum & Historical Society in the historic Garrison area president of the BMHS council, Sir Trevor Carmichael described the book as excellently organized. And he lauded the authors for not only making Plantation to Nation educational but also an entertaining documentation of Caribbean history.

The book sought to explore museums across the region and to allow for much needed discourse on their evolution. Moreover, it addressed the national identity, the evolution of Caribbean museums from colonial-era institutions that supported imperialistic goals to today’s museums which aim to recover submerged or marginalized histories, assert national identities and celebrate cultural diversity. Speaking at the book launch, co-author and director of the BMHS, Alissandra Cummins, revealed that it took approximately four years, 16 authors and countless editors to complete the book.

Alissandra Cummins
Alissandra Cummins

She explained that it came about after she and fellow author Kevin Farmer had contributed to another text on heritage. It was then they realized that information on museums was lacking.

“An enormous amount of information [was complied] but at the end of it they were two chapters on museums – his and mine. Both of us moaned the fact that working and teaching, people both working in the museum and students . . . knew very little about the origin of  the institutions that they serve or were interested in studying”.

Hence, this 275-page book pursued the conception, collection and communication of Caribbean museums both in the historical past and the contemporary present. Further to that, Cummins said they hoped to encourage more new audiences and academics to understand better how and why Caribbean identities are presented.

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