President of Tynwald Clare Christian MLC has written to convey expressions of appreciation to the North American Manx Association (NAMA) as well as to the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the Governor of the State of Wisconsin on her return from the United States where she attended the 51st NAMA convention.
Mrs Christian, who gave the keynote address at the convention, said: ‘This was an excellent event with a varied and fascinating programme of lectures and visits which reflected Manx connections in the Platteville region where lead mining attracted a Manx community in the 1800s; the visit to the Laxey Cemetery, so far from Laxey here in the Island, was a moving and tangible reminder of Manx pioneers there.’
A momentous event at the convention was the opening on August 11th of the first Manx museum in North America.
‘The vision and drive of NAMA, in particular the work done by Dr Mary Kelly, whose grandfather moved from the Isle of Man when he was 12 to North America in 1874, and the generous donations from the association’s honorary president Robert Kelly, who opened the North American Manx Museum, have transformed that vision into a reality. Central to this development has been the recognition of the Manx contribution to mining and farming in the area by the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The support of the Chancellor Dr. Dennis Shields and his predecessor Chancellor Markee were crucial in obtaining this permanent exhibition space.’ said Mrs Christian, adding: ‘It is another step towards raising awareness of the Island beyond our shores and those involved should be heartily congratulated.’
At the opening ceremony recognition was also given to the Island and Tynwald by the Governor of the State of Wisconsin Scott Walker who issued a proclamation recognising the opening of the North American Manx Museum, the Manx population in Wisconsin and the attendance of the President of Tynwald, the oldest continuous parliamentary assembly in the world. Governor Walker then declared the day ‘Hon Clare Christian Day’, prompting Mrs Christian to comment: ‘I was surprised and honoured that the Island and my office should be recognised in this unique manner.’