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Friday, 02 March 2012 11:17

Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor and a grant from the government, the reality of a Turks and Caicos National Museum on Providenciales is a step closer.

“We were very pleased to receive a donation of $100,000 by an anonymous donor this week,” said Provo museum architect Jeff Lee. The donation was made by part-time residents who Lee says appreciate living here and support the work being done to preserve of the heritage of the country.

While still a jump from the $3 million dollars required to build and outfit the new museum, the donation has renewed hope that more people are interested in helping to preserve the history of the islands.

Since 2010 a group of dedicated volunteers has been working diligently to make the dream of a place on the busy tourist island of Providenciales where people can learn about and appreciate the history of the islands a bricks and mortar reality. It has been an uphill battle, in large part due to the economic downturn in the world economy.

The helpful donation came in the same week when the National Museum proudly announced the opening of its new official headquarters. Located on the same property where the new National Museum will be built, the new headquarters will be used by its team to help propel more individuals to support the initiative.

“By appointment we can meet individuals here and share with them the vision for the future museum,” explained Dr. Donald Keith, museum director.
Keith also announced that the project will receive a $35,000 of grant aid from the government, plus a one-off abatement of the Customs Processing Fee up to the value of $65,000 to be completed by the middle of 2013. This will allow the museum, a charity, to bring in much of the building materials that it needs for the new facility at a lower cost.

The new National Museum in the Village at Grace Bay is designed to have 8,000 square feet of exhibit space. An adjacent one-acre parcel is planned to become the Caicos Heritage Park, a living history with a traditional Caicos homestead complete with a kitchen garden.

“We plan to use actual Caicos Islanders to help us recreate this traditional homestead, still seen in many of the Caicos Islands today,” Keith said.
These facilities will make it easier for the museum to reach out to the larger population of TCI residents and visitors on Providenciales, where it is intended that it can become a key education resource for school students too.

Exhibits are planned to include the Molasses Reef Wreck, the main exhibit on Grand Turk for almost 20 years, placing it closer to its original location and providing an opportunity to upgrade it to modern standards. Other exhibits will showcase the history of the Caicos Islands, including how they were formed millions of years ago, how the first people arrived more than 1,000 years ago, the coming of the Loyalist Planters 200 years ago, various industries practiced over the years, and modern development.

The space opened up in the Grand Turk location can then be filled with other exhibits such as the story of HMS Endymion, a 44-gun British warship that went down in 1790 at the southern end of the Turks Islands Bank, and the adventures of pioneer helmet-diver Jeremiah D. Murphy who lived on Grand Turk 150 years ago.

Established in 1991 in the Guinep House, Cockburn Town, the National Museum is located in one of the oldest buildings on Grand Turk. However, given its age and position on the Atlantic coast, a second site is also essential to preserving the museum’s work.

Additional donations and in-kind support from various individuals and businesses have been received too, notably M. Yves Micheli, the Fondation AGENA, John Frey, Jean Weis, AND Construction Co., Jeanette Caribbean and the Krieble Foundation, all of which helped the museum acquire the Grace Bay Site and set up its campaign headquarters.

Museum officials are hopeful that other potential donors, encouraged by the support already shown, will come forward with the financial support needed to open the museum in 2013.

About the National Museum

 

The National Museum is a non-profit private foundation governed by a body of nine trustees. Its mission is to collect and preserve the history of all the people who ever lived in these islands and to share their stories with the public. It depends entirely on grants, donations and public support. U.S. taxpayers can make donations through the Friends of the Turks & Caicos National Museum, a 501 (c)[3] qualified institution. For more information or to donate contact the National Museum, visit its website at www.tcmuseum.org or call 946-2160.

 

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