Many threads wove together at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Museum on May 18:
It was International Museum Day 2016, with the theme of Museums & Cultural Landscapes – landscapes interpreted as geographic, historical, economic, social and cultural contexts in which museums exist and operate.
What more appropriate time for an extended exploration of the context, significance and impact of the game-changing 1966 visit to Jamaica by Ethopian Emperor Haile Selassie. The visit is commemorated in the museum’s current visiting exhibition – just extended into June.
And that exploration, via a panel presentation and lively discussion, took place under the ambit of the ‘UWI & the 1960s’ occasional series, launched last year by the Museum and the Social History Project of the UWI’s Department of History & Archaeology at the Mona Campus in Jamaica. The relevance of Rastafari in Jamaica’s cultural landscape; the game-changing nature of the Selassie visit for national recognition of the Rastafarian community and movement, as well as for self-awareness of the Black majority; and the UWI’s own roles and reflections, were among the threads teased out and interwoven.
Through our colleagues at the University Archives we were able to audiotape the session, and we will definitely be sharing some of that. Meantime the Selassie Visit commemorative exhibition continues, alongside an edited Origins exhibition.