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School children at the Government Elementary School in Savannah, 1951. 'Colonial Reports, CINA' and the 'CINA Ref. DI 10379'

Published 19th January 2012, 8:52am

One room schoolhouses may now be a thing of the past for the Cayman Islands. However the memories and nostalgia for these humble beginnings are still present.

The theme for 2012’s National Heroes Day celebration is education, and the Islands will be honouring and recognising pioneers that taught with little to no resources.

A new exhibition presented by the Cayman Islands National Archive (CINA) brings to light images and items from the old school days. They will be on display at the old George Town Public Library. The exhibit entitled Back to the Old Schoolhouse will be open from Monday, 23 January from 12:00pm 3:00pm, and Tuesday 24 - Friday, 27 January from 10:00am to 4:30pm

The display will include images of old schoolhouses in George Town, Savannah, Cayman Brac and West Bay and fondly remembered teachers, like Ms Izzy & Teacher Redley.

This walk back in time provides a snapshot of what school days were like in the late 1800s to 1900s. Materials on exhibit include composition and text books, attendance certificates, the 1920 Education Law, photographs and oral history transcripts which brings both the written and spoken word to life to depict a vivid picture.

To provide an authentic feel for the classroom, the National Trust graciously provided items mainly from the Savannah Schoolhouse such as student desks, chairs, inkwells, Royal Readers, a school uniform, and a slate. Other artefacts include a biblical slate, a gig, thatch basket and various readers on loan from the National Museum.

To make this exhibit truly genuine in its presentation, artist Gordon Solomon painted a mural recreating the concept of a one room schoolhouse based on images from CINA’s Photographic Collections.

Everyone who views this exhibit may see and feel something different. It is hoped that the images will evoke emotive responses and provide a connection between past and present.

For more information about the exhibit, please contact Carol Mascarenhas at the Cayman Islands National Archive at 949-9809 or send an email to