The quaint little settlement of Cherokee, although quiet and laid back has produced many fine sailors, other persons of note and highly skilled craftspeople. It is soon to make its mark on The Bahamas in yet another way. Easter weekend is scheduled for the opening of a Shell Museum there which it is believed will be the only one in The Bahamas.
The museum, which will be called, “Gifts From the Sea”, will be housed in the small wooden building which at one time was the BTC telegraph office. It took the organizers of the Shell Museum six months to persuade BTC to allow the little old wooden building to be used as such but finally last year in November they granted a lease for a nominal fee.
The little wooden building, which already sports a brand-new roof, has already been spruced up on the outside with an extra layer of hardy board painted yellow and with bottle green trim around windows and doors. The inside is now being worked on to make it bright and cheerful and a worthy backdrop for the beautiful shells which will be displayed. New tile which was donated has already been laid on the floor and the walls will be covered with hardy board painted white. The several windows around the building will be open in order to let in the sunlight.
Mr. Derek Weatherford, a Cherokee resident, is fitting cabinets and once those are in place the shells can begin to be arranged. JoAnn Bradley, professional artist who also resides in Cherokee, has offered to paint all the walls inside with scenes of Cherokee which will make it most interesting and a fitting backdrop for the shells.
Cherokee already possesses a beautiful collection of shells. Over the years five ‘Shell Shows’ have been presented here and the people attending have been really fascinated by the variety and beauty of the shells. The shells, of which there are about 200, are contained in 14 boxes all catalogued with each shell’s Latin name and common name. These specimens range from very small to very large and some are very rare and unique. The organizers have also received promises from other people with shells willing to donate them to the museum.
Whilst the majority of the shells will be those found locally there will also be many shells from all over the world. The shells will have a label saying ‘donated by or lent by’.
“We are losing so many shells every day as people come and take so many so it is very important to preserve these shells for posterity,” quoted Lee Pinder.
There will be no entry fee into the shell Museum but inside will be a jar of donations for the upkeep of the facility. People have already been very generous with their donations.
A definite date for the opening of this shell Museum which promises to be a real gem for not only Cherokee and Abaco but for the entire Bahamas will be announced later.