Attendees at Friday’s Museum Day travelling exhibit flip through archived newspapers on display in the breezeway at the Central Administration Building. Photo: CHYRSTALL KANYUCK

From the Amerindians to rum distillers to smugglers, the territory has a rich history full of fascinating people, speakers said at a panel discussion during the final stop in a week of exhibits displaying a sampling of items that can be seen at four Virgin Islands museums.

Panellists Hugo Vanterpool, Dr. Katherine Smith and Dr. Angel Smith discussed the early development of the territory, including pre-Colombian societies, plantation era economics, and the post-emancipation power struggles between English colonial power and local leadership.

Some of the same key issues of cultural importance in the territory can be seen in the residents even during times of slavery, said Dr. Angel Smith. For example, one early plan to revolt and take over Tortola failed because the men from two plantations couldn’t attend — they had funerals to go to.

“So you see even then we had a culture of respect for the dead and respect for their families,” he said.

The travelling exhibit included items from the 1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works Museum, the Old Government House Museum, the VI Folk Museum and the HLSCC Maritime Heritage Museum.


See the May 29, 2014 edition for full coverage.