Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley said that museums have played a critical role in preserving our culture and history in the Virgin Islands through documentation and record-keeping.
Premier Wheatley’s comments come as the Department of Culture commemorates this year’s International Museum Day being observed today under the theme, “Museums, Sustainability and Well-being”.
Honourable Wheatley, who is the Minister responsible for the portfolio of Culture said, “I am especially pleased that this year’s theme is in direct alignment with our National Sustainable Development Plan that encourages the safeguarding of our distinct cultural identity."
He added, “The well-being of our society depends on protecting and promoting our cultural resources. Museums contribute in this way by expanding our knowledge, and increasing appreciation about who we are as a people.”
Director of Culture Dr. Katherine Smith encouraged the public to visit the museums and exhibitions which showcase the themes reflected in these sustainable development goals.
Dr. Smith said, “Jenesis Studios’ Herbal and Fruit Garden connects goals 3 and 13 in the way that it showcases the crops, herbs and fruits that were used for medicinal purposes, foods and beverages by Virgin Islanders from the post emancipation period to the mid twentieth century. This is profound because the shift to a sedentary lifestyle and western diet during the 1970s has been directly correlated to the rise in certain diseases.”
She further explained that while the Virgin Islands’ biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems are showcased at the J.R.O’Neal Botanic Garden on Tortola and the Anegada Iguana Headstart Facility on Anegada, there will be a temporary exhibition on offer at the Old Government House Museum.
This year’s theme underscores the transformative potential of museums as institutions that are tasked with ensuring sustainable futures for the societies they operate in. According to the International Council of Museums, each year since 2022, a set of Goals from the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations is focused on.
This year, the goals highlighted are:
- Goal 3 Global Health and Wellbeing: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, in particular concerning mental health and social isolation.
- Goal 13 Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, adopting low-carbon practices in the Global North and mitigation strategies in the Global South.
- Goal 15 Life on Land: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, amplifying the voices of indigenous leaders and raising awareness on the loss of biodiversity.
Dr. Smith explained, “Trefle Exhibition showcases the connection between recycling and upcycling natural and cultural materials and the evolution of fashion. This exhibition will be on display at the Elmore Stoutt High School, transitioning into a traveling exhibition for other schools across the Virgin Islands.”
As a part of the activities, an educational video will be aired which will touch on these themes, and will include the theme of climate change and the Virgin Islands’ museums.
International Museum Day activities will be observed from May 18 to the 26 and the public is encouraged to visit the following museums and institutions between Monday and Friday from May 19 to May 26:
- Jenesis Studios and Herbal Fruit Garden
- 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Anegada Iguana Headstart Facility
- 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Old Government House Museum Garden and Temporary Exhibition
- 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- J.R O’Neal Botanic Garden
- 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
For further information, contact the department at 468-4374.
The Department of Culture’s vision is a Virgin Islands where all Virgin Islanders feel a sense of belonging and pride, and actively participate in cultural activities that reflect their heritage and ultimately enrich their lives.