We’ve been happy to welcome lots of visitors to the exhibition on academic celebration and dress, with some of them having information to offer that will certainly become part of our research bank.
Special points of interest have included the wearing of open gowns at UWI – a tradition rooted in the British system, while the American universities generally have closed gowns. Some Caribbean visitors felt that women, in particular, would appreciate closed gowns that would simplify dress length concerns. But the point was made that closed gowns are hotter. One US visitor said that she and her friends in Florida, had to wear theirs over bikinis to beat the heat!
The point that gowns can even highlight connections between universities was made by Prof. Owen Morgan, Dean Emeritus of the Faculty of Medicine, UWI. He noted that the robes worn in procession by early non-UWI medical graduates reflected the consistent welcome given to West Indian students at five or six specific Commonwealth universities, through a scholarship programme.
And the favourite artifact in the exhibition, hands down: the original Chancellor’s gown, which dates back to the installation of the first chancellor in February 1950.
Now on: Origins. The Roots and Symbols of the University of the West Indies – remounted with some new elements.
Please visit the the media library for more and more photos of our invaluable visitors.