My TCI: Theresa Candianne Williams
by Stephanie Koathes Feb 11, 2019
Theresa Candianne Williams is an integral part of the development of TCI’s hidden gem, the National Museum. While the main museum is on Grand Turk, she has worked to establish and expand the outpost on Providenciales which is full of fascinating information.
Where and what did you study?
I graduated from the University of the West Indies with a BSc in Business Management. I also have a certificate in Events Management from George Washington University and a professional certificate in Museum Studies from Northwestern University. I am currently studying online for my MBA from the University of South Wales.
How did you get involved with the Turks and Caicos National Museum?
I started working part-time at the museum’s gift shop in Grand Turk, and my interest grew to a fascination with the preservation of history. As a result, I decided to pursue further studies in the field with my focus being museum education. It is a means of transferring historical and cultural heritage knowledge and skills to the next generation.
Tell me about the work you do with the museum.
I am establishing the museum on Providenciales. The goal is to build a state-of-the-art museum building and I must say that plans are progressing well for that. We have recently had new plans and targeted fundraising will begin soon. I have developed tours for the historical timeline and Caicos Heritage Homestead exhibits.
I started several community outreach initiatives that were well-received and supported by our stakeholders and community in general. Our volunteer and membership base is growing and I continue to work on building our brand.
Does the museum on Provo do any special cultural exhibits/events?
Our featured exhibit is the Caicos Heritage Homestead. It depicts the lifestyle typical to the islands in the early to mid-1900s. We have developed an event called ‘Back in the Day’ that takes place annually on or the Saturday closest to International Museum Day (18 May). The event celebrates the lifestyle of that era through music, food, traditional crafts, and games. The annual summer camp is also under the ‘Back in the Day’ theme as is the annual national ‘Museum History and Cultural Heritage Quiz’ for high school students.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The museum validates history since guests are able to interact with tangible evidence of the past. I enjoy being involved in passing on the knowledge of the past whether the focus is the islands’ first inhabitants, the Lucayans, who lived here over 1,200 years ago or the immediate ancestors who lived 100 years ago.
Why is it so important to preserve the culture of the islands?
Culture is a unique expression of the identity of a people, so preserving the culture is really protecting the identity of these islands. It is a way to showcase the Turks and Caicos Islands to the rest of the world because it is unique to these islands. It is the precious heritage of a nation that is held in trust to be passed on to the next generation.
TCI is marketed as a luxury destination. In what way would you say the country’s culture is being impacted by tourism?
I would say that the potential impact is enormous as there is room for heritage tourism development as an integral part of the tourism product. As a result, there will be a positive impact on culture as the demand for authentic TCI increases.
Describe TCI in three words.
Beautiful by nature.
What’s your favourite way to eat conch?
I am tempted to say conch fritters, but I have tried conch in many awesome dishes at the Conch Festival, all of which could easily be a favourite.
What would you recommend as a ‘must see’ for a first-time visitor to TCI?
I recommend the Turks and Caicos National Museum. The visitor will get a sense of place and an understanding of the history and cultural heritage of these islands and a tour of the heritage sites.
Where do you go to relax?
To any of the beautiful beaches on the islands for a walk, swim or boat ride, which is ultimate relaxation.
The Turks and Caicos National Museum has two locations, the main museum at Guinep House, Front Street on Grand Turk, and The Village on Providenciales. Be sure to check out all the fantastic facts about TCI on the museum website. You can also find out more about tours and projects.