Museum Gets New Director
Seasoned archaeologist Dr. Margaret E. Leshikar-Denton has taken the reins at the Cayman Islands National Museum.
While only in the Director’s chair for a week, Dr. Leshikar-Denton is no stranger to the Museum. Before her latest appointment, she has worked there as an archaeologist for 16 years doing research and developing displays. In addition, she made invaluable contributions to the Cayman Islands’ shipwreck register and was instrumental in developing the maritime trail.
“I have great respect and appreciation for the heritage and culture of the Cayman Islands. It is therefore a privilege to be entrusted with the leadership and vision of the National Museum,” she said.
Dr. Leshikar-Denton is a serving member of the Cayman Islands Visual Arts Society, Orchid Society, National Gallery and she is a life member of the Cayman Islands National Trust.
The new Museum Director holds a doctorate in Anthropology (Nautical Archaeology) and honed her archaeological skills in many countries, including Mexico, Spain, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos and Turkey.
She first came to the Cayman Islands in 1980 when a team from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (based at Texas A&M University) was invited by the government to survey the Islands’ waters for shipwrecks. Six years later, she accepted a full-time position at the Museum and moved permanently to the Cayman Islands.
Dr. Leshikar-Denton is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists, has worked as an independent researcher and has served as the senior representative for Central America and the Caribbean on the World Archaeological Congress. She was also the UNESCO representative at the Latin American and Caribbean Technical Commission on Underwater Cultural Heritage Meetings in 1998 and 1999.
In 2001, she served on the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) delegation during development of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. She co-edited, with Pilar Luna of Mexico, Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean (2008) and contributed Caribbean Maritime Archaeology to the Oxford Handbook of Underwater Archaeology (2010).
Currently, Dr. Leshikar-Denton serves as secretary for ICOMOS’ International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH), as an emeritus member of the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA), and director and board member for the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA).
“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Leshikar-Denton as new Museum Director. Her local knowledge combined with her unique experience will certainly ensure that the National Museum remains one of Cayman’s premiere cultural entities. Moreover, we expect that under her leadership we will see many meaningful initiatives that will support the preservation of Caymanian culture,” commented Minister for Culture, the Hon. Mark Scotland, JP.
National Museum Board Chairperson Jeana Ebanks echoed the Minister’s view, adding: “In her previous tenure at the National Museum, Dr. Leshikar-Denton has shown a deep personal dedication to, and respect for, Caymanian culture.
“She is adept at forging partnerships to attain major programme objectives and enjoys the widespread respect of her peers and colleagues. In addition, she has earned the complete confidence of the Board of Governors to guide the Museum competently. I therefore join them in my pleasure at her appointment and in my expectations that she will provide strong leadership for our National Museum.”