A new virtual museum is just one addition to the number of activities that have moved from the brick and mortar world to the virtual reality world.

Historian Gerard Besson, who is a consultant at Paria Publishing, said the new virtual museum he built for the blog “Caribbean History Archives” was launched two weeks ago.

“Things slowed down because of COVID-19 and we decided that we would gather all the photos we had from different museums and put them up. It was my idea to put it in a blog format,” Besson said.

“We have so many young people at home looking at their smartphones and I decided it was a good idea to bring a museum to their phones.”

There is a narrative that goes along with all the photos on the blogs that walk the reader throughout the different historical eras. People will find a lot of information, photographs, maps and other material that they can download and read.

*The first section of the virtual museum contains photos of the sugar industry in T&T at Brechin Castle, Couva. Besson said the virtual museum of the sugar industry in T&T was important as it represents the origins of a lot of the ethnic and cultural groups in this country–from Afro Trinidadians to Indo Trinidadians to Portuguese to Chinese immigrants who worked on these estates.

*The second section is a tour of the pitch lake at La Brea. Besson said they did a virtual museum for the pitch lake as it represents the beginning of the petrochemical industry in the country.

*The third section is a tour of the city of Port-of-Spain. Besson said the virtual museum for the city of Port-of-Spain was important as it represents the different phases of the city’s growth and its cosmopolitan nature.

Besson said they have been getting over 1,500 hits daily since they launched and they continue to get positive feedback. “We got several emails from teachers. One teacher said that she’ll make use of them right away.”

He said the virtual museum which was set up still has a long way to go before it reaches international levels like the Smithsonian Virtual Museum in the United States and other internationally renowned museums which give virtual tours. The plan is to create 3D presentations as they offer more virtual tours.

Besson said these are “divisive times,” but when people look at their history, they will realise that there is a common heritage shared and that is why museums are important to showcase the truth.

Reporter: Raphael John-Lall