The Museum of Belize and Houses of Culture has now been established under the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) a statutory body which seeks to encourage Belizeans and persons interested in Belize to better understand our historical and ethnic roots and instill pride in ourselves about our country’s unique cultural heritage and shared national identity. NICH was created by the Government of Belize in 2003 to bring together diverse government departments, which had historically worked to preserve and promote Belizean culture; and, to allow for the management of newer endeavours.
Since taking the position of Director, I have been trying to re-establish past contacts as well as build a sustainable program here at the Museum of Belize. We recently completed a successful loan with the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) on an exhibition entitled, Fiery Pool. I am hoping that I can collaborate with other Museums in the near future.
In terms of the “National Museum” project Winnel [Branche] dedicated so much of her time and effort, the long and short of it, is that with successive governments and museum administrators, that project somehow got lost in transition. In doing documentary research I found all the plans, etc, but alas the funding slated for the then Museum has seem to have mysteriously dried up or may have been diverted elsewhere.
The new President of NICH, Ms Diane Haylock hopes to make the dream of the “National Museum” a reality, and launched full steam ahead with the drive/campaign to re-start the project. As you may know, people are weary of hearing about the museum project (AGAIN) and the process has been slow in moving forward. Nonetheless, we are trying to make this a reality, sooner rather than later and with the assistance currently from UPENN’s Cultural Heritage Centre, we are optimistic. So as it stands, there is one Museum in Belize www.museumofbelize.org and in different parts of the country, these “Houses of Culture” which acts as mini museums. The idea to build a National Museum, would link all these location into a museum system for the country.
[This short brief has been contributed by Sherilyne Jones.