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The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ), is set to unveil its sports exhibition, ‘Making Tracks: The Story of Jamaican Athletics’, to highlight 60 years of excellence in Jamaica’s sporting history.
“The exhibition seeks to tell the complete and accurate story of Jamaica’s track history. So, if we as Jamaicans hope to retell this story, which so many people are interested in at this time, and we want to retell it accurately or if only to broaden our own knowledge, then this exhibition is a must see,” said Public Relations Officer at the NLJ, Denise Walker, in a recent interview with JIS News.
This exhibition will be opened tomorrow (September 24), and will be up for viewing until December 2008. It will expose Jamaicans to photographs, medals, trophies and other memorabilia belonging to, and associated with Jamaica’s athletes over the years.
Mrs. Walker is delighted at the prospect of telling Jamaica’s track story through the use of visuals and believes that it will go a long way in helping the NLJ to connect with the youth cohort.
“People today, especially the young, are very visual, they like to have pictures/photographs and such to look at, as this helps many to put things into perspective. So, telling Jamaica’s track history through visuals, is definitely the way to help persons young and old, appreciate what Jamaican athletics is all about,” she said.
‘Making Tracks: The Story of Jamaica’s Athletics’, will trace the development of track athletes and athletics in Jamaica, beginning with the Gold/Silver effort of Dr. Arthur Wint and the now deceased Herb McKenley in the 400m at the 1948 London Olympics and ending with the most recent achievements in Beijing, China. In addition, it will not only focus on the Olympics, but other international, regional and local games, in which Jamaicans have participated and excelled, including the Boys and Girls Athletic Championships.
The Public Relations Officer, is also encouraging Jamaica’s athletes, young and old, as well as private citizens to donate sports photographs and memorabilia to the NLJ, so that more Jamaicans will have access to the country’s history and be able to put visuals (places/faces), to information that they might have heard of or read about.
“Just recently Mr. Byron LaBeach, a member of the 1952 Helsinki 4×4 relay team donated photographs from his private collection to the NLJ. This was most welcomed and so we encourage others to do the same. After all, what we are building is a national collection for all Jamaicans to view, study and make use of in any way possible,” she informed.
“If we don’t document our history, someone else will and they may not get it right, so it is imperative that we have the facts and are able to produce accurate information for ourselves,” she added.
Persons wishing to donate to the NLJ should bring the items in, accompanied by a letter stating the conditions of use, for example, if persons would need their permission if they want to reproduce the items donated. Additionally, for everything donated, the NLJ acknowledges the donor.
The NLJ offers one of the region’s most extensive collections of Jamaican and West Indian reference materials, including photographic, print and digitised images.