ARTIFACT: A made object…usually with cultural or historic value.
The UWI Museum was hosting a group of Grade 5 & Grade 6 students when an artifact arrived – enriching the current ‘People & Region’ exhibition and enlivening the visit. The artifact, brought in by the Secretary of the Kingston Cricket Club (KCC), was a West Indies cricket cap – the first such cap earned by Jamaican all-rounder Jimmy Adams in 1992. Adams, who captained the West Indies from 2000-2001, gave the cap to his club, the KCC, which loaned it to the museum for the exhibition.
The maroon cap, lined in black, carries the West Indies cricket logo on the front.
Interestingly, the students’ questions were very practical: Why does it have that black part inside (the lining)?[Answer – for greater strength and to keep its shape longer].
Is Jimmy Adams still alive? [Answer – Very much so; cricketers usually retire from test cricket in their 30s and not all artifacts date back centuries!];
Why does the label inside the cap say Kingston Cricket Club? [Answer – that’s his Jamaican club and he’s given the cap to them as a keepsake.]
The West Indies first played together as a test side in 1928, having joined the International Cricket Council in 1926. In this, the team pre-dated many of the current initiatives to integrate the countries of the region, especially the former British West Indies. From West Indies cricket to the University of the West Indies and many other steps in the broadening reach of what has become the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the exhibition focuses on the engagement of people with region.
The cap wasn’t the only artifact that the students from Kingston, Jamaica’s Queens Prep School saw on their visit. A rare regional artifact is a WI Federation Olympic pin from the 1960 Rome Olympics – the only Olympics where the region competed as a united entity.
Also among the artifacts on show is the Order of the Caribbean Community medal presented to late UWI Vice Chancellor Professor Rex Nettleford, one of the region’s best known scholars and cultural activists.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has, since 1992, presented these medals to regional luminaries. On loan is a CARICOM Youth Ambassador certificate on loan from Dr Terri-Ann Gilbert Roberts, a lecturer at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social & Economic Studies (SALISES) which cooperated in the mounting of the exhibition.
And the students wished they could dig into a very recent piece – a souvenir bag of mementoes of the 2013 Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) that took place in Suriname. CARIFESTA has been hosted in various regional states for decades.
Artifacts such as these help tell a story of popular engagement with the region of which the University of the West Indies – home of the UWI Museum – is a venerable and vibrant part, having been established in the late 1940s with the specific mandate to serve the region!
The People & Region exhibition closes on November 8, 2013.