Haslemere Educational Museum has recently been collaborating with Tobago Museum in the West Indies by  hosting two members of staff from Tobago Museum on an international professional development placement. Curator’s Assistant, Helen Edwards-Noel, and Museum Assistant, Aisha Guy, have been consulting on an information gathering exercise and have been exposed to a wide range of transferable skills.

The Tobago Museum is located at the late 18th-century Fort King George – named after King George III – on the outskirts of Scarborough, Tobago.  The museum displays include exhibitions of pre-Columbian items including Amerindian relics, ancient pottery, military artefacts, colonial history and slavery, as well as displays relating to collections of antique maps, documents and coins.

The forerunner of the Tobago Museum was founded by Patrick Lake Boyle Coghlan (1907-1993), of Copyhold, Fernhurst, Haslemere. As a result of this common link the two museums have been in contact, which has led to this closer alliance and professional attachment.

During the placement for Helen and Aisha, Tobago Museum Trustee and pro-tem Chairman, Mr Michael J. Keens-Dumas also briefly visited Haslemere Museum with his wife and they met with the Curator and Chairman. The other two Tobago Museum trustees are Mr Louis Vilain and Mr Jeremy Knott. It was Mr Jeremy Knott, son of former trustee David W. H. Knott also of Haslemere, who made the first contact with Haslemere Educational Museum in August 2015.

Chairman of Haslemere Museum, Melanie Odell MBE, said: “It was a great pleasure to meet Helen, Aisha and Michael, and we were delighted to be able to share the activities and processes of the Museum with our international guests from Tobago”.

Michael J. Keens-Dumas said: “The Tobago Museum was able to benefit from a training attachment at Haslemere Educational Museum for staff during a two week period in September 2016.  This was as a result of initiatives of the Tobago Trust under its trustees and the Tobago House of Assembly’s Division of Community Development and Culture. The exercise proved to be one of great success in that it has opened doors leading to greater collaboration between Haslemere Educational Museum and Tobago Museum. Both Chairmen and Curator were able to meet and have discussions on areas of mutual interest with a view to implementing programmes that will promote the Tobago Museum and foster greater links throughout the museum community.  A bright future is anticipated as we move forward having made this historic link.”

This professional development placement for the Tobago Museum staff was funded by the Division of Community Development and Culture, Tobago House of Assembly, and authorised by Secretary Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus and Administrator Mr Richie Toppin.

Haslemere Educational Museum and Tobago Museum plan to continue this international alliance and look forward to furthering their special partnership.

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