A native plant garden with traditional medicinal species at the Old Government House Museum Gardens. An iguana breeding project in Anegada. A recycling-themed fashion exhibition at Elmore Stoutt High School.
All are among the offerings on display this week as part of the territory’s International Museum Day observance, which is ongoing under the theme “Museums, Sustainability and Well-being.”
“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,” Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley said.
The Culture Department is aligning the week’s activities with a 2022 decision by the International Council of Museums to focus on different United Nations Sustainable Development Goals each year.
This year, the spotlight is on Goal Three, which focuses on global health and well-being; Goal 13, which focuses on climate action; and Goal 15, which focuses on protecting terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity.
“Jenesis Studios’ Herbal and Fruit Garden connects goals three 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 20th Century,” said Culture Director Dr. Katherine Smith.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the territory’s biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems are being showcased at the J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens on Tortola, at the Anegada Iguana Headstart Facility, and at a temporary exhibition at the Old Government House Museum.
“Trefle Exhibition showcases the connection between recycling and upcycling natural and cultural materials and the evolution of fashion,” Dr. Smith added. “This exhibition will be on display at the Elmore Stoutt High School, transitioning into a traveling exhibition for other schools across the Virgin Islands.”
Additionally, an educational video will be aired focusing on climate change and the territory’s museums, according to government.
The premier noted that museums play a critical role in preserving the territory’s culture and history through documentation and record-keeping.
“The well-being of our society depends on protecting and promoting our cultural resources,” said Dr. Wheatley, whose portfolio includes culture. “Museums contribute in this way by expanding our knowledge and increasing appreciation about who we are as a people.”