By CELESTE NIXON
Tribune Staff Reporter
WITH the reconstruction of Pompey Museum well underway, the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation will hold a Pompey Day to celebrate the preservation of the country’s rich history.
Providing an update on the Pompey Museum after it was destroyed by fire less than a year ago, Courtney Strachan chairman of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation (AMMC), said “this complex has been the jump start of our historic programme – we believe this will be the site where the whole idea of historic preservation will take place and it is important, but we use a symbol such as Pompey.”
The Pompey Museum is being upgraded and will bring the museum into the 21st century, said preservation architect at AMMC Alicia Oxley.
“We are reinstating the museum and also looking at mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades, which is not only keeping up with the Bahamas building code, but are also museum prerequisites for a well founded museum,” she said.
According to Ms Oxley it is estimated that $1.7 million will be spent on the museum’s reconstruction which is expected to be completed in January 2013.
Chief curator at AMMC, Kim Outten-Stubbs said after the physical work is completed the corporation will concentrate on re-establishing the museum.
She said this will include a children’s space on the second floor, staff kitchen area, exhibit areas and office space.
Additionally, Mrs Outten-Stubbs said AMMC hopes to introduce the museum with a temporary Peter Mowell exhibit that will showcase artifacts from the slave ship that sank off Lynyard Cay, in Abaco.
Later in 2014, she said, the museum will be re-opened with permanent exhibitions on slavery in the Bahamas in its entirety.
On December 7, the one year anniversary of the fire, Mrs Outten-Stubbs announced that AMMC will hold a Pompey Day on the site from 6am to 6pm. She said there will be numerous events and activities and encouraged neighbouring buildings, corporate Bahamas and the general public to get involved.
“We are inviting the entire Bahamas to come to this space and join us, we are going to have a ceremony and bless the building, we are going to sing and dance and give praise that we are able to restore the building,” Mrs Outten-Stubbs said.
Speaking of the $2.1 million Pompey Square, managing director of the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) Ed Fields said the green space is about 70 per cent completed and should be finished by early January.
The square will feature a gazebo for concerts, pop up water fountain for children and adults alike to enjoy, public restrooms, landscaping and is intended to be the starting point to a “new revitalised Bay Street,” he said.
“Unfortunately,” said Mr Fields, “we had a fire that damaged both Pompey and the Seamans Chapel – however out of crisis comes opportunity and as a result of that particular incident we were able to co-ordinate with all the players to a make a really wonder transformation to this area as we enter Bay Street.”
Projects expected to be undertaken as a part of the downtown revitalisation project include the temporary pedestrianisation of some of the side streets for evening events, the Ministry of Works intends to repave Bay Street, rebuilding the side walks and intersections, new street signs and adding a board walk onto the wharf, said Mr Fields.
“I think that all in all over the next year or so you are going to see a significant transformation to Bay Street,” he said. “The primary market for this is residents, for residents to come and enjoy downtown – hopefully now with the opening of this square and this area we will see more people come down and enjoy the Pompey Museum.”