Upgrades underway at Fort Charlotte include a re-routed entranceway for vehicular traffic and an increase to the activities programme at the fort. Photo: Tim Clarke/Tribune Staff
ACCESS to Fort Charlotte is receiving a major facelift as the historic site ramps up programmes and activities in time for its peak summer traffic.
Last month, officials at the Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Corporation (AMMC) in conjunction with the Ministry of Works and Urban Development started construction of an improved access point for vehicular traffic near the entrance road at the fort. These upgrades include a layby for buses and an expanded sidewalk system. Plans are also underway to increase re-enactments and include a scheduled daily flag raising/lowering ceremony.
Dr Keith Tinker, Director of AMMC, said the upgrades at Fort Charlotte are geared towards improving the overall visitor experience at the site while creating additional revenue to maintain the facilities.
“Renovations began last month and are well underway at the fort,” he said. “The improved access point allows us to better secure the premises and create a welcome point for guests arriving at the site. Persons visiting Fort Charlotte are a mix of tourists and locals. This particular fort is our largest and offers great potential for increased activities. Through this exercise, our primary goal is to enhance how visitors perceive the attraction and provided added value through the historic reenactments and flag raising ceremonies.”
This month, 16 rangers from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force will begin training to perform daily cannon firing, flag lowering and raising routines and other duties included in the partnership between AMMC and the force. Once fully executed, the programme will provide 30 full-time ranger jobs with teams working seven days per week.
AMMC’s Living History programme will also be expanded within the coming months. Live demonstrations of straw plaiting, basket weaving, cooking, military drills and cannon firing will transport visitors back in time to when the fort was occupied by the West India Regiment and introduce patrons to the old Bahamian way of living. The programme started in 2013 and is popular with tourists, locals and school groups.
Additional upgrades at Fort Charlotte will include new signage and other improved interpretation features. Once upgrades are complete, the admission fees will be increased.