Cayman carefully preserves its past
Caymanian history dates back 500 years. Generations and generations have passed down the islands rich oral history, telling the tales of its seafaring past. The Department of Tourism is making great efforts to establish historical and cultural sites for visitors. They want all to hear the stories that tell of how, during the 20th century, Caymanians built reputations as top mariners and turtle fishermen.
The Caymanian people take great pride in their culture and heritage. Many of Cayman's top attractions focus on these aspects, offering glimpses into how life once was for the independent-spirited Caymanians. Two organizations, The National Trust for the Cayman Islands and the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, have been set up to preserve the country's culture and heritage. Five art galleries including Cayman Islands National Gallery, Pure Art Gallery and Gifts, Kennedy Gallery and Esteban Gallery, showcase the works of local artists, past and present.
Natural and Cultural Preservation
The Cultural Foundation is the Cayman Islands' principal arts development organization, including performing, visual and literary arts. Among its responsibilities, the Cultural Foundation produces theatrical events and manages the multipurpose Harquail Theatre. It also produces Cayfest, the annual Cayman Islands Arts Festival, which showcases local talent. For more information, visit www.artscayman.org.
The National Trust is responsible for preserving natural environments and places of historic significance within the Islands. A listing of designated National Trust sites appears on this ||||page||||. They would be of interest to anyone looking to discover more on Cayman's culture and history. For more on these sites, go to www.nationaltrust.org.ky.
Following Are Details on Some of Grand Cayman's Top Cultural Attractions:
Cayman Islands National Museum: Located in the restored Old Courts Building in George Town, the museum's building itself is historic as one of the few remaining 19th century structures. It has served as a jail, a courthouse and a house of worship. The museum has more than 2,000 items on the country's cultural and natural history.
Pedro St. James Historic Site: This reconstructed 1780 Great House, site of the Cayman Islands' "Birthplace of Democracy," is the oldest known existing stone structure in the Cayman Islands. A restoration project enhanced the country's first national landmark. Sitting on eight acres overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Pedro St. James paints a fascinating history of the Cayman Islands. Visitors can tour the three-story Great House, outbuildings and grounds – alive with native trees and plants – as well as traditional medicinal and vegetable gardens representative of early 19th century West Indian plantations. The Visitors' Centre houses a theater featuring a multimedia show spanning 200 years of Cayman history – a wonderful introduction for most visitors who do not know that much about Cayman's past. Pedro St. James is also popular for weddings and social events.
Cayman Islands National Gallery: This beautiful gallery in George Town exhibits works by both local and international artists. Admission is free.
Miss Izzy's Schoolhouse: More than 100 years old, the schoolhouse shows what private school education was like here in the mid-1940s. It is an example of an original wattle and daub – the traditional Cayman method of construction – a cabin-style home with the classic upward-sloping hip roof.
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