Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Cross-cultural exchange encouraged through Museum Connect initiative

Published:Thursday | August 20, 2015 | 4:07 PMShereita Grizzle
Dr Veerle Poupeye (left), Executive Director of the National Gallery of Jamaica provides detailed information to Earl Jarrett, General Manager of the Jamaica National building Society about a piece mounted at the National Museum West in Montego Bay, recently.
Dr Jonathan Greenland, director of the National Museum.

A joint initiative of the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) dubbed Museums Connect has awarded seven grants to 15 museum partners globally, including Jamaica. The project pairs museums in the United States with museums throughout the world to further the development of cross-cultural exchange and to stimulate dialogue around youth empowerment, environmental sustainability and social inclusion.

Based on the grounds that the historical roots of many within the African diaspora have been erased by the tragedy of slavery, this project aims at recovering and preserving the history associated with the rural community of Nonsuch in Portland, Jamaica, and the urban community of San Juan Hills in Manhattan, New York. Through creative discussions on the historical conditions that gave rise to these two communities, approximately 40 high school students will participate in the project and will explore historical facts to reconnect with their past in a bid to better understand the present and empower their futures. As part of the programme, the teens will also learn how to use archival sources, conduct interviews with elderly residents in their respective communities, and develop compelling digital videos and artwork. Exhibitions will be held in their communities to display the results of their work.

Through this programme, the Caribbean Cultural Centre African Diaspora Institute in New York will partner with the National Museum of Jamaica and The African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica-Jamaica Memory Bank, under the project, 'Dialogues in the African Diaspora: Youth Reclaiming Community, Identity and Memory'.

"This is a partnership programme unlike any other," said Laura Lott, president and CEO of the AAM. "Museums Connect allows students and citizens across the globe to delve into issues affecting their local communities, and to work together to address some of humanity's most pressing challenges. Museums Connect partnerships create global citizens and foster deep relationships between American and global communities. AAM is proud to continue its partnership with the US Department of State on this extraordinary educational exchange programme."

Since its inception, Museums Connect has linked American museums with partners in 49 countries, including Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Honduras, India, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and the Ukraine. Other partnerships under the 2015 exchange include work between museums in India, California, Mexico, Singapore and Texas.