National Carnival Museum in St. Kitts-Nevis to Showcase Rich Cultural Traditions, While Inspiring A New Generation

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 17, 2018 (SKNIS): The St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival Committee is moving forward with plans to establish a museum that captures and celebrates the rich history and heritage of 61 years of carnival.

On Wednesday’s (October 17) edition of the radio and television programme “Working for You”, the committee’s chairman, Noah Mills, said that a possible location has been identified on Bank Street in Basseterre that could host the museum. Inside, there will be displays featuring instruments used by calypso bands, steel bands, and the string band. A written description will accompany each section.

Costumes and the associated stories of the six active folklore groups in St. Kitts and Nevis will also be prominently featured. These are the Bull, Masquerades, Mummies, Actors, Moko Jumbies, and Clowns. The colourful outfits will be worn by mannequins so visitors can get a better sense of the intricacies of each costume.

“You are going to be able to walk in and also hear the music,” Mr. Mills said, noting that headphones will be available for visitors to enjoy the rhythmic sounds of each folklore group. This will also be done for other past carnival activities.

“You will be able to put on headphones so you can see the calypsonians from the 1980s performing, hear their songs; put on another headphone [to] hear string band, put on another you can hear steel pan, put on another headphone and hear past [National Carnival] Queens giving their performances and everything else,” the carnival committee chairman stated.

Interviews with older cultural activists and performers will also be recorded and aired in the museum. This should help to enhance the experience and education of persons that visit the museum and will also serve as a living testament to today’s art forms.

Mr. Mills credited the Department of Culture for partnering with stakeholders to ensure the cultural heritage continues to be passed on to the younger generation. He made special mention of an initiative with Winston “Zack” Nisbett, commonly referred to as the Doctor of Culture, where the traditions of the Mummies and the Masquerades are passed on to school students. Additionally, young participants from the department’s steel pan workshops held earlier this year showcased their skills at the recent Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket matches held in St. Kitts.

Mr. Mills added that this holistic approach of engaging the younger generation is welcomed and will aid greatly with cultural reproduction and preservation.

The museum opening is included on the calendar of activities for Sugar Mas 47 and is set for December 03, 2018. Carnival first started in St. Kitts and Nevis in 1957, and was eventually transformed into a National Carnival in 1971.