We are now in Grand Turk for about 10 days over Christmas. We have got a ‘job’ house and dog sitting thus providing us with a place to live. While we are here we are intending to do a bit of voluntary work for the Museum and today we went in for a look around as well as to discuss some of the tasks that need doing. There are quite a range of jobs from welcoming visitors to archive work to more practical tasks. Hopefully we can mix and match these so that we can be outside for a while but retreat now and again when necessary.
One of the outside jobs is to survey a graveyard! The graves around St Thomas’s Anglican Church contain a lot of useful historical detail so a plan and notes of inscriptions would be very useful in researching the history of some of the pioneers on the island. We went along to see what the work would entail but the area was locked. The church was badly damaged a couple of years ago in Hurricane Ike and as there is a second Anglican church nearby there appears to be no great impetus to sort out the problems. We now need to wait and see if a key can be found and permission to survey can be granted.
The museum itself contains public exhibitions on the islands and their history, in particular a shipwreck on the Molasses Reef. Behind the museum is a research building with offices and archives. In amongst these is a puzzling artifact from the salt industry. A few connections and information from a local 90 year-old seems to have revealed its use though the exact method is still to be determined. It seems that the wooden Archimedes screw with copper cladding on the blades was used as part of an attempt to make table salt (i.e. clean and white). It was a venture that failed to save the local salt industry.