BGIS ???Shades Of History??? A Hit At Agrofest

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Assistant Librarian, Trevor Springer, explains how a typewriter works to pupils of Wesley Hall Junior School. (A. Skeete/BGIS)

Patrons at this year’s Agrofest were taken on a journey back in time compliments of the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) as they presented ‘Shades of History’, a mini exhibition which was held over the Agrofest weekend in Queen’s Park.

In celebration of the designation of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visitors to the BGIS booth got a glimpse of the rich history of the city through a display of several mounted black and white photographs.

They ranged from the construction of the West Wing of Parliament, and a bustling Broad Street and Roebuck Street in the late 1800’s, to a more modern city in the 1970’s.

The BGIS also had several of its antique audio and visual equipment on display, including the film projector and megaphone for the mobile cinema unit, as well as several old film and video cameras.?? The antiques were a hit with patrons, in particular the 1950, Hermes 2000 typewriter.

Librarian at the BGIS, Lynn Lucas, said she was pleased with the response to the exhibition, adding that the booth was part of the department’s efforts to remind Barbadians of their rich and vibrant history.

"It was amazing how many persons remembered the old projector from our cinema days. That brought back a lot of memories for patrons as well as the typewriter. For older persons, the typewriter was a trip down memory lane and the children loved it. Many of them had never seen one before. Some children had never seen a cassette

tape or VCR either. They only knew about CDs and DVDs, so, this was our way of trying to teach young Barbadians a little bit about our audio visual history," she said.

Ms. Lucas added that the BGIS was exploring the possibility of expanding the exhibition for next year’s Agrofest by adding more black and white photographs and equipment from the archives.

On the historic photos, she noted: "So many persons were excited to see Bridgetown of the 1870’s until the 1970’s. They fondly remembered landmarks such as Fogarty’s in Broad Street. Both the young and old were captivated by these photos. Tourists and schoolchildren who visited the booth were very impressed by what they saw. Some patrons even suggested we should put on another exhibition. It is something we would like to explore because the response was tremendous."

Marketing Officer, Ronny Yearwood, pointed out that the photographic exhibition played a great role in generating interest in several of the BGIS publications at the booth, particularly ???Old Barbados’ and ???Historic Bridgetown’.

"Visitors who saw the classic pictures of Bridgetown wanted to take a piece of history home with them. We had persons who placed orders with us at Agrofest and who took our contact information as well. We did well in terms of generating interest in the books," he said.

Mr. Yearwood encouraged persons who wish to purchase BGIS publications to contact the Marketing Department at 426-2232 or 426-2242, email marketingbgis@barbados.gov.bb or visit the BGIS office at Bay Street, St. Michael.

andre.skeete@barbados.gov.bb

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