Support apprentices rebuilding a historic house in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica

Petchary’s Blog writes about the Wattle and Red Earth (WARE) Collective’s  efforts to seek support for its Living Museum Project.

I spent quite a lot of my childhood getting lost in museums: returning the glassy stares of stuffed animals at the Natural History Museum in London, and peering at strange objects in cases, flint arrowheads and pottery created by mysterious humans thousands of years ago. I found the Science Museum baffling, altogether.

Well, museums have come a long way. Living museums have been around for quite a while now but are perhaps a relatively new concept in Jamaica. We need to pay attention to our heritage, and one Jamaican initiative focuses on a specific aspect that combines architectural know-how, history, and opportunity for people to learn a remarkable and unique skill.

The Wattle and Red Earth (WARE) Collective is seeking support for its Living Museum Project, driven by an acronym: H.O.P.E. This stands for History, Opportunity, Preservation, and Enterprise. Here is the GoFundMe link. As described, this Living Museum is not intended simply as a building; the project is also intended to be a showcase of traditional, locally developed crafts, many of which, like the wattle and daub technique itself, are in some decline. The beautiful website will tell you much more.

The Collective’s mission is, simply put: The preservation of traditional arts, crafts and traditional building methods in southern St. Elizabeth and Jamaica.

The reconstructed “Spanish Wall” building has been moving ahead from the ground up, with five trainees under the watchful eye of 81-year-old Guy Parchment – the keeper of the flame, so to speak (yes, there is fire involved! A lime kiln, to be exact). However, the building is currently on pause, as funds have run a little short – although it is three-quarters complete.

The building “enhances where you’re coming from. This generation doesn’t know about it – we have to show them,” says Vincent. One apprentice (there are women and men) says delightedly: “It’s something real, you understand?” Take a look at the video, and browse through WARE’s blog for updates.

The building is coming to life. Help sustain and bring it into fruition by chipping in a few dollars. The end result promises to be magical – and at the same time, real.

For original article, see

[Photo above: Young St. Elizabeth residents are tapping into, and learning from, the expertise of Orville “Guy” Parchment.]

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