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#477940 - 11/21/13 03:56 AM History of Planes, Trains & Automobiles In Belize
Marty Offline

We all know Belize’s highways, but only few can remember the time when Belize had railway systems, that’s right, trains! And not just one railway system, there were three of them!  That’s part of the story covered in a new exhibit that NICH has mounted at the Museum of Belize.  The museum is named:  “All Aboard: Belize in Motion through the Years” and covers everything from planes to trains to automobiles.  We found out more at the official opening this morning:

Jules Vasquez Reporting

The exhibition engenders a broad sweep of history from dugout canoes to trains to cargo boats to planes and cars:

Sherilyne L. Jones - Director, Museum of Belize & Houses of Culture
"What we did, we took the pertinent aspects of transportation, starting from the Ancient Maya. We knew that they utilized our waterways. We have evidence of their occupation all the way out in the cayes. And so, how did we go from using these little dug out boats from the Ancient Maya, to where we are today, where planes and cars are every day."

And there was once a time when trains were a part of the everyday experience of industrial Belize - three train systems in western, southern and northern Belize in the early 20th century:

Sherilyne L. Jones
"And then, we also talked about the railway. That's something that a lot of people don't even realize that we had. It's unfortunate that we don't have them anymore, but we highlighted that. So, the students, the visitors get an idea that while don't have it today, we were a little bit modern back then. So, maybe, if we look at the pass, we can see how we can incorporate some of those modes of transportation, to deal with some of the challenges today."

And the history of transport is also the history of commerce - the dominant modes of transport have always been to facillitate trade, from the mayan salt trade to the logwood trade, now to a service economy:

Sherilyne L. Jones
"We used to use the rivers and the railway for exportation. Now, we barely use the rivers. The La Ruta Maya highlights the river, but on a day-to-day basis, everybody jumps in their car, and zips to where they need to go. Many people don't even think about what went into getting that road in place."

And with clever curating this show puts it in perspective: that before a road ran through it, a river and a railway did...

The exhibit is open to the public and it is free for Belizeans.

Channel 7

#477941 - 11/21/13 04:05 AM Re: History of Planes, Trains & Automobiles In Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

All Aboard: Belize in Motion through the Years Exhibit is launched

On display at the Museum of Belize is a historical journey of the evolution of transportation in Belize. The exhibit includes archival information such as photographs and items that show the transformation and development of all forms of transportation. It goes back to the Maya civilization to how technology has changed the industry in present day Belize.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

All Aboard: Belize in Motion Through the Years is a visual journey.  This exhibit, which incorporates photos, documents and historical objects, looks at the various modes of transportation that have been employed in various industries across the country dating back to the ancient Maya civilization.  The display was officially launched this morning at the Museum of Belize.

Sherilyn Jones

Sherilyn Jones, Director, Museum of Belize

“It really takes a snippet of our history and brings it to life.  The fact that transportation has been an integral part of who we are as a people.  It takes a look from the ancient Maya, they paddled in dugouts throughout the waterways of this country.  We have evidence of it all the way out in the cayes.  How were they able to do that?  And then it takes a look at the logwood development and the railway and the Cayo boats and these passenger boats that use to take people along the rivers into the interior of the country.”

While there is enough history on seafaring and other means of land transportation, including the light rail system, emphasis is also being placed on the use of passenger trucks, airplanes and riverboats.  These vehicles were the precursor to present-day commuter buses.

Sherilyn Jones

“When the roads first developed it was these trucks that were open in the back and people would file on and take days to reach San Ignacio.  But I think it’s interesting because there’s a lot of information that I found out when we were doing the research.  A lot of people don’t know the fact that we had a very extensive railway system that took logs to the ports.  The first plane that landed, that Charles Lindberg landed, you know, people hear about Lindberg’s Landing.  Where did that come from and so we talk about that history and the fact that Belize at one point had its own airlines.  So for me it was also key for people to know.”

Isani Cayetano

“What precipitated the idea for this particular exhibit?”

Sherilyn Jones

“Well, the staff of the museum we have what we call think tanks and we go through these topics that are either relevant to today or it was relevant back then and we come up with ideas and we use the collection that we have.  What we have was an extensive set of maritime models and boats and we said how can we just, rather than just showing boats what’s the story behind these boats?  And so that’s how we really conceptualized the idea.  So we then took it from instead of just looking at boats let’s talk about railways, let’s talk about trucks, let’s talk about mule and carts and so that’s how it ended up coming together.”

According to Sherilyn Jones, Director of the Museum of Belize, visitors will appreciate how far Belize has come in terms of infrastructure development.

Sherilyn Jones

“I think that key is the fact that we have come a long way in terms of modes of transportation, I mean, like I’ve said when we think of transportation nowadays we think about jumping in our cars and the controversy surrounding the bus system but there’s much more to it.  There was much more thought.  How did the highways develop, the canal system, why did that develop and you’ll also get the history behind our development.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Channel 5

#477944 - 11/21/13 04:24 AM Re: History of Planes, Trains & Automobiles In Belize [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
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