Grand Cayman’s Treasures

Grand Cayman has captivating historical sites with a range of indoor and outdoor activities guaranteed to satisfy every family member’s inquisitive mind. The sites take you back to a simpler time and teach you about the struggles of early settlers and the island’s social and economic growth.

PEDRO ST. JAMES
Created by a wealthy Englishman, the astonishing 3-storey building was purchased by the Cayman Islands government in the 1990s and painstakingly restored to the splendour of its 18th century heritage. Visitors can view period furniture and authentic artefacts. A 20-minute presentation at Pedro Theatre entertains with lighting, vapors, wind and water to transport you into the lives of the early settlers. A National Historic Site and considered a “livingheritage museum,” the great house will take you back to the origins of Cayman’s government. Other features include the Hurricane Ivan memorial, the gazebo, Watler House and stunning ocean views. Pedro St. James is the perfect site to host a wedding, meeting or a community event. For more information, visit www.pedrostjames.ky.

CAYMAN ISLANDS NATIONAL MUSEUM
The Cayman Islands National Museum is dedicated to the preservation, research and dissemination of all aspects of Cay manian heritage. The museum’s roots started in the 1930s when Ira Thompson began collecting Caymanian artefacts as a hobby. The government purchased Thompson’s artefacts in 1979, and they became the core of the collection. The museum opened to the public in 1990 in the Old Courts Building after years of planning, artefact conservation and exhibit design. The Old Courts Building once served as the town jail, parliamentary centre, hall for Sunday worship and civic dances, and the first formal courthouse of the Cayman Islands.

The buildings’ two major restoration initiatives placed emphasis on preserving historic authenticity, which in 1990 attracted an award from the American Express Preservation Awards Program for the Caribbean. Today, the collection contains over 8,000 pieces, ranging from tiny coins to a 14-foot catboat, natural history specimens and rare documents. Established as a place of learning and enjoyment, it provides residents and visitors with a rich understanding of the island’s heritage through its exhibits and activities. Choose from quality memorabilia to exquisite Caymanite jewellery from the museum shop at end of your tour. For more information, visit museum.ky
MIND’S EYE: THE VISIONARY WORLD OF GLADWYN K. BUSH (MISS LASSIE’S HOUSE)

A fourth generation Caymanian, Gladwyn K. “Lassie” Bush began painting at the age of 62 after a visionary experience. Her work, dominated by strong Christian themes, is featured in the 156-page My Markings: The Art of Gladwyn K. Bush published by the Cultural Foundation. Bush is also one of the artists profiled in books on intuitive art worldwide: Raw Creation (Phaidon Press), Caribbean Art (Thames and Hudson) and Fantasy Worlds (Benedikt Taschen Verlag).Her work is inprivate collections in England, the United States, Jamaica, South Africa, Germany and the Cayman Islands, and in the collection of the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Bush was awarded a national honour and is the recipient of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Heritage Award.

This cultural treasure was placed on the World Monuments Watch List (2012) and shares the company of amazing sites such as the Great Wall of China, Quetzalcoatl Temple, Taj Mahal and Valley of the Kings among others. The Cayman National Cultural Foundation offers guided tours from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month by appointment only. Admission is US$10 per adult and US$5 for seniors and children under 12. Tours can accommodate groups of up to eight people. Visitors can view the inside of her Caymanian-style home set up to replicate when Miss Lassie and her family lived there and with the walls, ceilings and furnishings covered in her paintings. To book a guided tour please contact CNCF at culture@candw.ky or call 949-5477.

MISSION HOUSE
This historical site features a traditional Caymanian two-story home situated on an area of dry and wetland frequented by a variety of local wildlife. Early settlers utilised the site for its abundant waterfowl and water supply in the 1700s as is evidenced in oral history accounts and in the shards of glass and ceramics found on-site, which are now on display for visitors. The site became known as the Mission House in the 1800s by early missionaries, teachers and families who lived and contributed to establishing the Presbyterian ministry and school in Bodden Town.
The Mission House recreates the living situations of the three families known to have owned the home. On the guided tour through the living, dining, bath and bedroom, you will see many of the actual artefacts owned by the Watler family, who lived there for 77 years. The home helps you understand the challenges faced by the early missionaries and teachers in Cayman. Visitors can purchase children’s toys and locally made craft pieces at the retail store. The house is open Monday through Friday by appointment only. Additional days and private tours are available on request. Email mission@nationaltrust.org.ky for reservations or call 749-1121.