At the National Museum of Bermuda (NMB), we believe history, art and culture keep us connected and inspire openness, empathy and creativity. To stay connected with our community while we overcome current challenges, we are developing a new online programme: “At Home with History”. This programme will provide learning, literacy supports and fun activities for students, families and life-long learners.
At a time of collective experience, NMB is elevating its education mission to serve educators, parents, and life-long learners island-wide and abroad. Virtual tools and online programming mean that anyone with an internet connection can stay connected with us and continue to learn and better understand Bermuda’s rich and diverse history.
In doing this, NMB joins a global effort: over the past few weeks, thousands of museums have shut their doors to combat the spread of coronavirus. Thankfully, many are getting creative: looking to technology for ways to share their collections, insights and expertise. Some have moved their collections and exhibits online and others are offering virtual tours for those stuck at home and in need of a culture fix. NMB is proud to be part of this global effort to remain connected, and to support and build community.
We are kicking off our online “At Home with History” programme with a new 360 virtual tour of The Hall of History, which was created by Brandon Hull of HullFilm. Hull has previously created similar virtual tours for sites all over the world including Monticello in Charlottesville Virginia and the Slave Quarters at Decatur House in Washington, D.C. Using cutting edge technology Hull created a 360 panoramic of The Hall of History, which can be accessed on all computer, tablet, and mobile devices.
Visitors can now explore our 1000 square foot mural from anywhere and over the next few weeks we will also be hosting a virtual Hall of History Q&A on our Facebook page. Graham Foster, NMB Director of Learning and Engagement Lisa Howie and NMB Curator Deborah Atwood will be meeting virtually to discuss the mural and answer your questions. You can submit questions via our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Hall of History Q&A”.
Described by Lonely Planet as Bermuda’s own “Where’s Waldo?”, The Hall of History by Bermudian artist Graham Foster is a mesmerizing floor-to-ceiling grand mural that coils around the columned grandeur of the Pillared Hall in Commissioner’s House at the National Museum of Bermuda (NMB).
Painted in Foster’s distinct style, the 1,000 square foot mural traces the 500-year human history of Bermuda and tells the Island’s multi-faceted story with vibrant detail, irreverent humour and poignant observations, capturing the imagination of all ages.
From scenes of children line-fishing off a dock, to a gombey troupe celebrating Emancipation Day, to kite flying and beloved holidays like Cup Match, this stunning piece of history in art illustrates all of the elements that give Bermuda and its people their unique character, highlighting major historical events, obscure day-to-day happenings, and local customs and traditions. Foster did not, however shy away from the darker parts of our shared history which also shaped us, and the mural also includes and reflects on these, with images depicting slavery, segregation, imprisonment, and capital punishment.
Though much has been written about Bermuda history, there are few visuals and The Hall of History serves as a unique entry point from which to uncover new stories and histories that have never been recorded in art. Museum staff provided Foster with a list of historical events and subjects from the 16th century to present, but he also immersed himself in additional research, bringing intense detail to the history and nature depicted in the mural.
The Hall of History would become a 3-year labour of love in research, planning and execution. Once the research was complete Foster had to overcome technical issues with scale and perspective. Employing his unique style, Foster used trees, waterways and roads as visual arteries connecting the panels and creating a smooth transition between time periods. Completed in 2009, Foster spent more than 7,000 hours and used over 150 twelve-ounce tubes of blue paint alone to complete the work! When asked about his process, Foster quipped: “I will leave a piece of my sanity in this room”. Watch Graham’s Tedx Bermuda Talk to find out more information on the “Method in the madness”.
Driven by his passion for Bermuda history Foster continued his research after the mural was complete and discovered the history of beekeeping in Bermuda. Fascinated by this story, he revisited the work to paint tiny bees into his now technically completed masterpiece.
New details or old, you’ll be sure to learn something new every time you visit, and perhaps see history in a new perspective or format. From the wreck of the Sea Venture to the descent of the bathysphere, from the fevered activities of the 18th century maritime economy to Emancipation and the development of modern-day Bermuda there is so much to discover! So put some coffee on, settle into the sofa and get ready to explore this must-see attraction from home: https://hullfilm.com/projects/nmb/360tour.
At NMB, we pride ourselves on sustainability. During this challenging time of the Museum’s closure, we need your support more than ever to ensure our longevity. Please consider a gift today to help us continue to offer free programmes and resources, and free admission for students and teachers once we are back open. Please consider donating today: www.nmb.bm/donate
Follow the National Museum of Bermuda on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter to stay connected and find out more about our new #athomewithhistory program.