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50th anniversary of Hurricane Janet commemorated: Deputy Director of the of the Barbados Museum, Tom Loftfield speaking at the new installation of the Barbados Museum. The multi-media exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Janets hit on Barbados. Behind Loftfield is a black and red flag that was put up when hurricanes were going to hit the island. (

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Hurricane Janet remembered after 50 yearsÚ
Web Posted - Wed Sep 21 2005
By Khalil Goodman

Houses torn apart by high winds, heavy rains destroying homes and Barbadians left homeless.

These are some of the images on display at the Barbados Museum at their newest exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the arrival and aftermath of Hurricane Janet. Deputy director of the Barbados Museum, Tom Loftfield explained that the exhibition, which was conceived of since early January was not created due to the recent destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but rather because the region and the world are more interested in hurricanes altogether. Thus, the exhibition, which was originally conceived of by museum director Alissandra Cummins and curated by Monique Ifill, charts the beginning of Hurricane Janet, the course of destruction and the aftermath of the hit. Hurricane Janet hit Barbados September 22, 1955, making this the 50th anniversary of the event.

The exhibition uses pictures taken from The Barbados Advocate, the National Trust, The National Library service and the private collection of Peter Foster. Denise Jones, marketing officer for the Museum explained that the use of text and photos visually has been found to be very impactful on the general public. However, the exhibition goes further to offer a video of the destruction caused by the 1955 hurricane from footage provided by the Government Information Service. The video also features excerpts of interviews with half a dozen people who experienced the hurricane first-hand. Interesting information is disclosed, such as the fact that because so many Barbadians had outdoor toilets at the time, the subsequent rains caused health concerns. Information gathered reveals that it was actually amateur meteorologist Evelyn Reece who accurately predicted that the hurricane would hit the south of the island.

The exhibit also shows that the region helped Barbados immensely with countries like Guyana donating 2 750 bags of grain and wood and coal. Trinidad is recorded as donating corrugated asbestos, blankets and clothes for men, women and children.

The exhibition also explains the science of hurricanes and features one of the flags used to tell the public that a hurricane was coming. Loftfield told the Barbados Advocate that other than Janet, two previous hurricanes have impacted greatly on Barbados, with the 1830 hurricane flattening many of the major buildings. You can see this, explained the deputy director, in the Churches which all look similar, because they were all built in the style that was in vogue in the late 1830s.

The exhibition will open to the public from September 20 and run until October 23 at the Barbados Museum, which is open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5p.m.b

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