The national museum of Liberia is more than a century’s old and in deplorable conditions, with fissures in the walls, flakes of paint peeling off and molds visible on almost every aspect of the building. Rainwater seeps in through leakages in the roof and the ceilings look ready to collapse.
Erected in 1862 and once hosting the house of legislators and Supreme Court of Liberia, the museum underwent a minor repair believed to have been the first of its kind after the country’s fourteen-year-old civil war.
The first tiers of the building, which contain memoirs of past presidents and cartographical materials, related to Liberia’s culture artifacts, are being destroyed gradually due to rainwater and poor methods of preservation.
The second and third tiers of the museum containing art galleries that illustrate Liberia’s artistic works appear to be in a better condition than the first tier of the building. However the museum lacks electricity, pipe-borne water, there is no safety hazard, and most cultural artifacts are being ruined.
Louise McMillian, Assistant Minister for Culture at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) said: “We are aware of the museum’s condition and renovation is underway for this month.”
Min. McMillian noted that the renovation of the museum doesn’t only include the building but also every cultural artifact that has been damaged.
“All those items that are partly or fully damaged will be restored and preserved for the future generation,” Min. McMillian said, adding: “When the renovation is completed it will restore the museum’s dignity as a place to learn the country’s heritage.”
Min. McMillian put the cost of transformation of the museum to the amount of US$345,000, but fell short of disclosing when the project would be completed.
She said further “all documents like the book of condolence of late President W.V.S. Tubman that has had some parts damaged will be placed in a glass enclosure for proper documentation.”
The Minister explained that after renovation the museum will have electricity, pipe-borne water and safety hazards, and a tight security system will be implemented.