New book tells of Bermudians in the age of revolution

The Royal Gazette - A new history book written to highlight ignored Bermudian stories is to be distributed to public and private schools and libraries.

Prudent Rebels: Bermudians and the First Age of Revolution (1774-1849) by Bermudian historian Clarence Maxwell, with contributions from Bermudian Theodore Francis II and Alexandra Mairs-Kessler, has been launched by the Government’s Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the National Museum of Bermuda Press.

A spokeswoman for the national museum said: “Prudent Rebels contextualises previously ignored Bermudian narratives and examines the ways in which different groups of Bermudian mariners and merchants, enslaved and freed, black and white, used the events taking place during the Age of Revolution to further their own prospects by growing their personal networks, purchasing their freedom, and increasing their social status through financial gain and land ownership.”

The book depicts aspects of the last decades of the 1700s to the first half of the 1800s, when the Atlantic World experienced a period of intense revolutionary activity.

The spokeswoman explained that a Humanitarian Revolution grew out of the unrest, inspired by the Haitian Revolution and decades of anti-slavery campaigns in Europe.

This resulted in an attack on slavery and the commerce of human trafficking that fed it, and the legislation that abolished both in the first half of the 1800s.

It also placed on the agenda civil rights for all men and women, regardless of race.

The book, which took more than ten years to produce, explores the role and response of Bermudians during the Age of Revolution.

It is the first book to be launched under the National Museum’s new education strategy, which was designed to make history accessible, relevant to the public and reflect the diversity of Bermuda’s cultural heritage.

The National Museum spokeswoman said there was a genuine Bermudian contribution to the changes, which were a self-interested rebellion whose consequences would shape the island long after 1834.

The authors gave a free lecture at Bermuda College on Thursday night.

A teacher’s guide to the book is expected to be available in the near future.

The book is available from the National Museum of Bermuda Press at 234-1333, info@nmb.bm, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs at 292-1681, and from bookstores island-wide.

The publication and its accompanying resources were backed by Bank of Bermuda Foundation, the American Friends of the National Museum of Bermuda and private donors.

Charity helps at Verdmont

Marsh and Guy Carpenter colleagues last week hosted their Annual Community Giving Day, volunteering their time to beautifying the gardens and wooded areas at one of Bermuda’s most beloved historic properties.

Thirty colleagues spent Friday [May 17] doing various gardening and planting tasks at the Bermuda National Trust’s Verdmont house and museum. Built in the early 1700s, Verdmont has remained virtually unchanged structurally for almost 300 years and remains an important part of the Island’s African Diaspora History Trail.

Marsh and Guy Carpenter colleagues cleared invasive plants from pathways and open areas and gave a ‘facelift’ to the garden beds around the Smith’s property. In addition, they donated flowers to the trust, which will be replanted for community enjoyment in years to come.

“Helping to do our part to maintain the beauty of this historic Bermuda home and museum was extremely meaningful to our team,” said Jahan Cedenio, Co-Chair of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee at Marsh in Bermuda. “It was a long day as we worked hard to enhance the appearance of the outside space, but it was extremely rewarding to make a positive contribution to a place that has been instrumental in teaching countless resident and tourists about Bermuda’s past.”

Dorcas Roberts, Director of Preservation at Bermuda National Trust, said: “The help of volunteers in maintaining our properties is vital. Not only does it give us much needed hands-on help, it also gives the community a chance to discover our properties and learn about the island’s heritage and insight into its conservation.”

In past years, Marsh and Guy Carpenter have dedicated their Community Giving Day to efforts such as decorating and painting at the Matilda Smith Williams Seniors Residence and the Westmeath Residential and Nursing Care Home, as well as sprucing up the Salvation Army’s Emergency Housing Complex on North Street.

See the article in The Royal Gazette here

Bermuda to feature in war graves project

The Royal Gazette - The lives of Bermudian veterans of two world wars are to be highlighted as part of a research project.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which cares for military cemeteries around the world, said it wanted to include service personnel from the former British Empire in stories to be published on its website and elsewhere.

Victoria Wallace, the director general of CWGC, said: “Everyone understands what the UK regiments did, but the contribution of the people who served in Bermudian regiments isn’t as well known.”

Ms Wallace said she was inspired to include Bermudians in the memorial effort after she saw the careful conservation work carried out by the Bermuda National Trust, which includes the care of military graves on behalf of the CWGC.

She explained: “We come every year to check on the 140 graves here on the island and it’s been a delight to see such care taken at the cemeteries everywhere. It’s a real credit to the Bermuda National Trust and all the work they’ve done.”

She added: “We hope that by actually making links with the BNT that we have a lovely opportunity to ensure that Bermuda’s role in the two world wars is properly recognised.”

Ms Wallace said that the commission had started to post stories on services personnel from other countries on their website, blog and newsletters last October. She added that the CWGC had still to collect information about Bermudian veterans.

Veterans’ families welcomed the memorial project.

Pamela Darrell, 93, said that her Royal Navy veteran husband, Owen, who died in 2013, would have appreciated the commemoration. She added: “It would mean a lot to him because his time in the navy was very important to him, so I’m sure he would be very proud.”

Mr Darrell, originally from Pembroke, joined the navy in 1941 and served on a minesweeper for five years.

Joy Jones, 68, his daughter, said: “I have some relatives that are interested in what dad did, and when my grandkids learn about World War Two we can show them that they have a connection to this.”

Ms Jones added that personal stories helped to make history feel more real.

She explained: “They were both called world wars and I think that the world aspect is made meaningful by having individual stories as a part of it.”

Bill Zuill, director of the BNT, said that the commemoration of home-grown veterans would be popular with Bermudians. He explained: “There’s so much interest in our genealogy and people wanting to know more about their ancestors and family members and that’s increasing all the time.”

Casemates to be research centre

The Royal Gazette - Bermuda’s former prison is to be reborn as a history research centre, the executive director of the National Museum of Bermuda said yesterday.

Elena Strong said the Casemates buildings in Dockyard would be used to focus on “the Atlantic World from 1415 to 1945”.

She added: “The concept is to establish a multidisciplinary research facility at Casemates comprising a consortium of universities from the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Africa, which will operate under the umbrella of the NMB.”

The museum, formerly called the Maritime Museum, acquired the Casemates property from the Bermuda Government in December 2009.

The complex was once a barracks for the Royal Marine guards until The Royal Navy departed Bermuda in the 1950s, and then a maximum-security prison from the late 1950s to 1994.

The building has been under restoration for years, but the new concept was outlined as Ms Strong laid out initiatives under the museum’s ten-year plan.

She said the plan was designed to boost Bermudian knowledge of history and the island’s cultural assets, strengthen research and make the NMB “a must-see museum”.

The new centre will also be used to build on education, including teacher training and schools programmes.

Ms Strong said the education strategy would guide the “learning landscape” of the museum down to publications, research and collecting. The former curator and deputy director at NMB took over the top job a year ago after Edward Harris retired. Ms Strong said that her biggest challenge had been repairs needed after four hurricanes hit the island from 2014 to 2016.

She added the storm strikes were “the worst disaster in the museum’s history”.

Ms Strong said that the museum had now “emerged from the cloud of disasters”.

Bermuda chosen to host major conservation conference

Arms Wide Open: Strategies for Engaging with Diverse Communities

International Conference of National Trusts 2019

December 18, 2018 - A successful bid by the Bermuda National Trust has resulted in Bermuda being chosen as the venue for a major conservation conference next year. The International Conference of National Trusts 2019 is expected to include 150 representatives of conservation organisations from around the world.

 It is the group’s 18th conference and was last staged in Bermuda 30 years ago. In addition, the fourth Caribbean Conference of National Trusts will take place at the same time to enable national trusts in the region to discuss their specific issues.

 The conference takes place from March 27-30, 2019 and will take place in St. George’s, Dockyard and at the Fairmont Southampton Resort.

 “We are delighted to have been selected as the venue for the conference,” said Alana Anderson, President of the Bermuda National Trust. “It’s particularly meaningful for us as 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the formation of our Trust.

 “In addition, it’s a boost for Bermuda – not just the fact that the conference will bring visitors to our island in March, but because it attests to the fact that we are recognised as an island with a strong history of conservation and respect for our environment. We look forward to showing our visitors what Bermuda has to offer and how we have taken care and improved upon the natural beauty of the island. It will provide a valuable opportunity for us to learn from our peer organisations around the world.”

 Bill Zuill, Executive Director of the Bermuda National Trust, said the conference will be focused on diversity and inclusion “a topic of relevance to national trusts everywhere; only with the engagement of our communities can we succeeded in our conservation mission and ensure that natural and man-made heritage is preserved ‘for everyone, forever’.”

 The conference, titled “Arms Wide Open – Strategies for Engaging with Diverse Communities”, will be based at the Fairmont Southampton Resort with sessions to be held off site including at the Dockyard and St George’s World Heritage Site.

 “We have a great deal to discuss, but we want to showcase Bermuda as much as possible,” said Mr Zuill. “By locating the workshops and discussions outside the hotel, we will ensure our visitors get a full Bermuda experience without compromising all the work we need to do.”

 So far, delegates to the conference are signed up from 32 countries - Aruba, Australia, Bermuda, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, France, Fiji, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, St Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Sri Lanka, St Helena, Tanzania, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, United States and Zimbabwe.

 

 

Bermuda residents who wish to take part in the conference can also do so in one of two ways. They can sign up for a full delegates’ pass which includes evening entertainment for $800, or they can sign up for a Bermuda delegates’ pass, which entitles them to attend all daytime events, for $500.  Residents can register for the conference at 2019icnt-into.org

 

Panel discussions and workshops will be led by experts in their field from around the world, with strong representation from Bermuda. Plenary speakers confirmed so far include:

·         British curator, historian and filmmaker Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington DC since February, 2018. Awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, he is one of the world’s foremost authorities on African art, and the creator of the BBC TV series The Lost Kingdoms of Africa. Dr Casely-Hayford is a former Executive Director of Arts Strategy, Arts Council England, and advisor to the United Nations and the Canadian, Dutch and Norwegian Arts Councils and the Tate Gallery.

·         Marquetta Goodwine became Queen Quet after being elected Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. A native of St Helena Island, South Carolina, she is an author, preservationist and performance artist. In 2008, she recorded the story of the Gullah/Geechee at UNESCO headquarters in Paris for the UN archives. Her activism began with securing land rights for the Gullah/Geechee people, who often passed land down through the generations without any legal documentation to prove ownership. In 1996, she founded the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition to support the continuation of Gullah/Geechee culture.

·         Gail Lord is president and co-founder of Lord Cultural Resources, formed in 1981 to address a need for planning services in the museum, cultural and heritage sector. The company has completed more than 2,200 projects in over 57 countries. Focused on creating value from “the maximisation of cultural resources”, the company has offices in New York, London, Mumbai, Beijing and Toronto, and clients in the public, private, foundation, government and nonprofit sectors.

 

Media Inquiries: Bill Zuill, Executive Director, Bermuda National Trust 

                        wzuill@bnt.bm

                        236-6483 ext 223

National Trust celebrates its 40th annual Walkabout

National Trust celebrates its 40th annual Walkabout

St. George’s is gearing up for the descent of thousands of people on the town on Friday evening (December 7) for the Annual Bermuda National Trust Christmas Walkabout.

Now in its 40th year, the Walkabout continues to grow in popularity.

For the third year, the National Trust has organized a ferry which will bring participants from Albouys Point in Hamilton to St George’s so they can enjoy the Walkabout without spending time in traffic.

Tickets for the ferry from Hamilton have sold out, but there are still tickets available for the shuttle from Marginal Wharf to the town. The first ferry will leave Marginal Wharf at 6.45pm and the last ferry to Marginal Wharf from St George’s will leave at 8.45pm. Tickets are $2 for all ages and a maximum of 350 tickets will be sold on www.bnt.bm.  

Once again musicians, dancers and carolers will entertain the crowds and refreshments will be available throughout the old town and marked on a map that will be distributed on the evening. Children can meet Santa at the National Trust’s members area at the Globe Hotel.
Many of the oldest continually occupied buildings in the New World which will be decorated and candle-lit for the event.

Remembering the War to End all Wars

The Royal Gazette has this story on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War:

Forgotten stories of the First World War have been given pride of place at the Bermuda Historical Society’s museum.

The relics from the epic conflict, which ended 100 years ago with the Armistice of November 11, 1918, have been highlighted as the society prepares to explore Bermuda’s links to the conflict.

The BHS will deliver a lecture on the role the island played in the war, followed by two documentaries, from 5.30pm until 8pm at the Bermuda National Library in Hamilton’s Queen Street next Thursday ….

For more, click here

The Gunpowder Theft featured by Smithsonian Magazine

Bermuda’s gunpowder theft has been featured in a new article in the Smithsonian Magazine.

Author Matt Jancer’s story on the famous theft of gunpowder from the unguarded magazine in St George’s concludes: “As for Bermuda’s gunpowder, enough of it eventually made its way to Washington’s men at Boston. The British, unable to hold their position, evacuated the city in March of 1776.

The Bermudian gunpowder supply lasted through the end of that campaign and into June, when it was used to defend Charleston from British invasion, according to Spurling. A port vital to the American war effort, losing Charleston could have choked the rebellion into submission. Outmanned five-to-one, American defenders fought off nine British warships. The British wouldn’t try again for four years, all because a Bermudan governor left a storehouse unguarded, because who would ever dare try to heist so much gunpowder from a town in the middle of an ocean?”

Gombey Festival is coming

Bermuda visitors are getting a special invitation to participate in the Bermuda International Gombey Festival next month at Botanical Gardens. It’s the first time the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs have partnered to build a special visitor offering of this kind. 

The Gombey Festival package includes: reserved seating, refreshments, private photo opportunities with Gombeys and an exclusive cocktail hour in the Sensory Gardens.  This newly bundled cultural experience came together after the success of a similar visitor offering created for the first time this year at the Peppercorn Ceremony in April. With the purchase of a ticket, visitors had access to reserved seating, a private tour of the State House and a garden party where they could meet local dignitaries.

“A sizable segment of our target visitors wants to immerse in Bermuda’s cultural experiences so wherever possible we try to build opportunities around what’s available and make it easy to access for travellers online,” said Bermuda Tourism Authority Chief Product & Experiences Development Officer Pat Phillip-Fairn.

There is a full weekend of Gombey Festival events, beginning October 4 with a special Made in Bermuda Nights event, and ending October 7 with a symposium.  While visitors are welcome at all festival events, the featured event with the newly packaged experience is on October 6 from 4pm to 9pm.  Tickets are available on Ptix.com.

Earlier this month, the Bermuda Tourism Authority released a new promotional video on Gombeys via social media.

Don't miss Carter House art show

Carter House is currently hosting an Art Exhibition in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the St. David’s Island Historical Society.

A spokesperson said, “We are presenting at Carter House a unique exhibition of paintings, prints and drawings of Bermuda, primarily St Georges and St David’s, covering the period from the early 1800’s to the early 1900’s – the private collection of Rick Spurling with some 40 pieces, many not seen before by the public.

“The Exhibit includes paintings by Prosper Louis Senat, Edward James, Joseph Jicha, Warren Francis Snow, Thomas Driver, Henry Rice, H. H. Muirhead, R. E. Bates, Lester Baker Jr., Frances Getty, Frank Waller, Edmund Hallowell and local artists Richmond Outerbridge, Sheilagh Head, Blackburn, Christopher Grimes, Bruce Stuart, E. Tucker, J. Tucker, Rick Spurling, and Ronnie Chameau.

“Also, unique anonymous drawings of St Georges dating to about 1820; In addition, an exhibit of Ronnie “Chapeaux” Chameau’s incredible palmetto and banana dolls and hats, and Larry Mills’ exquisite handmade Cedar pieces from old historic doors and windows. The paintings are interspersed with many quotes from 1609 to the present day describing how beautiful and interesting Bermuda really is.”

The last day of the art exhibition is Saturday, September 22nd.