The Caribbean Genealogy Library hosted a “St. Thomas Then and Now” exhibition on Saturday, showcasing old images of St. Thomas from the Michael and Jane Sheen Historic Postcard Collection, paired with present-day photographs of the same locations.
The project was undertaken by Saira Kapur, a talented high school student and amateur photographer. Kapur’s objective was to capture similar scenes to the historic postcards, aiming to highlight the changes that have occurred on St. Thomas while also observing what aspects have remained the same.
Drawing a considerable turnout on Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the exhibition took in friends and family of the exhibitor who attended the event, as they eagerly entered the exhibit. Community members and attendees perused the old and new pictures, sharing stories of how they have witnessed St. Thomas transform over the years.
The event provided an opportunity for individuals to delve into their heritage and trace their roots, resulting in newfound connections between distant relatives who discovered their shared ancestry.
Kapur expressed her excitement regarding the event’s success, admitting she wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Witnessing people reminisce and share stories made her feel that she was making a positive impact on her community, she said. Kapur also hoped that the exhibition would inspire other photographers to document their work in galleries, thereby showcasing the rich history that the U.S. Virgin Islands has to offer, she said during an interview with the Source.
The “St. Thomas Then and Now” exhibition features approximately 20 pairs of historic photos alongside their modern counterparts. The exhibit effectively illustrates the changes in land development and technological advancements that have occurred over the past 125 years. Furthermore, it captures the cultural practices and enduring uses of space that have remained constant throughout St. Thomas’ history.