Assistant Minister for Culture at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Joyce Kenkpen

The ongoing renovation work at the nation’s only museum which started four months ago, at a cost of US$400,000, is nearing completion.

The roof of the building, which used to leak so badly that several artifacts were damaged, has been changed, along with the broken wall running parallel to Buchanan Street.

The second and third tiers of the museum, which contained art galleries showcasing Liberian works of art, were badly damaged. They have now been transformed into modern structures.

In addition, the lack of electricity and pipe-borne water that hampered the smooth operation of the museum for years has been resolved.

Erected in 1862, and once housing the House of Legislature and Supreme Court of Liberia, the museum was under minor repairs a few years ago. But the current ‘full scale renovation’ is the first of its kind after the country’s 14-year civil war.

The 154-year old building is a national heritage structure standing at the corner of Broad and Buchanan Streets. It is one of the few remaining landmark structures that represent Liberia during ‘normal days,’ as well as possessing important historical and cultural artifacts good for education and research.

The work on the museum, according to the Assistant Minister for Culture at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Joyce Kenkpen, is 95 percent complete, and will be dedicated a month from now.

The Minister added that although the renovation work on the museum is long overdue, it is ‘a dream come true’ for the government and a fulfillment of a promise to promote and maintain Liberia’s culture.

“I agreed that this is a belated undertaking, but it is better late than never. At least, at the end of the day, our promise was fulfilled,” Min. Joyce said.

Speaking on other cultural projects across the country, the Minister explained that renovation work on the Ben Town Cultural Village, which was put on hold due to irregularities in the procurement process, will soon begin.

“Right now, we are seeking a contractor to begin the fencing of the land to stop people encroaching on it, which will be followed by the construction phase.

“I understand that there is an urgent need for cultural villages across the country which will help to stop the fast decaying of culture, but this cannot be done in a hurry. We have to take our time in order to get the needed result,” she added.

On Beh Sao, the nation’s only remaining cultural village that is still in ruins, Min. Kenkpen did not say when the project will actually start, but added that it would be “very soon.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. Good News! Thanks to all who had a part in making this happen. There is not a country of value in the world where the records and ralics of its history are not narrated in various forms and renditions to inform current and future generations of the journey, mistakes and achievements of past generations. I look forward to visiting the rennovated meseum and urge others to be anxious to do so also. This is particularly importatnt for Libeiria’s progress. “One note: PYJ foot of boot in the meseum. What does it mean?” (Read my book: Negro Nation)
    “Those unable to catalog the past are doomed to repeat it.” ― Lemony Snicket, The End

  2. “Good news”, and congratulstions for the efforts, cataloging the past is a great accomplishment. But, for heaven’s sake, what about a regime headed by a Harvard graduate also investing in a significant learning resource, such as, at least, one main public library in the capital city of a country with high illiteracy rate?

    Seemingly, our ruling class would prefer millions of uneducated citizens so that they won’t be held accountable for the runaway robbery of resources and revenues. Of course, that’s one logical reason elites who used the services provided by public libraries abroad are indifferent to the need for that institution: What a bloody shame!

  3. This is a welcomed news and congratulation to the government for undertaking this renovation project. Great nations are defined by arts and cultures and museums, either national or regional, play very important role in the preservation and promotion of our culture and history as well.

    I will recommend that the occasion of the inauguration of the renovated facility will include various segments of the Liberian arts and culture industry, meaning our writers, poets, cultural performers, as well as singers and musicians. The participation of all these will only add class and grace to the occasion. The nation such as Liberia should have important cultural institutions that celebrate the diversity of our cultures. All this will help in promoting reconciliation in our country. Our history as a nation that brings together the native Africans and people from the African diaspora of America and the Caribbean is very rich in history and culture. Preserving the positive aspects of that coming together will be very good for promoting our tourism industry. Both Ghana and Senegal draw thousands of tourists every year to visit the Elmina Slave Castle and the Goree Island. What about the country that houses those from the Trans-Atlantic slave experience and their brothers and sisters they met on African soil? The positive aspect of that history should be promoted and celebrated and this could be very important and lucrative aspect of our tourism sector.

  4. Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism: What are the functions of these incorporated entities embedded into one Ministry? The Ministry of Information is too government-oriented and bureaucratic to generate revenue. The complexity of Liberia’s cultural makeup alone; and its endowment with such beautiful coastal line are reasons to independently harness these two entities (culture and tourism) to their greatest potential: separating them from the Ministry of Information.
    .
    To generate revenue, it’s time to combine Cultural Affairs and Tourism into an autonomous agency just like the Forestry Development Authority (FDA). Such autonomous agency sole responsibility will focus on promoting Liberia’s culture and tourism for commercial purposes.

    Liberia rich cultural heritage goes back a long way (12th and 14th century) before the Portuguese and other slave traded entered Liberia’s coast. Liberia was known for its iron smelting, weaving and spinning of country cloth, and cultivation of rice. There are artifacts and other cultural relics of Liberia stacked around the world that pre-dates the arrival of freed slaves to Liberia that could be returned under special arrangements.

    Our diverse ethnicities, customs, and traditional beliefs are reasons to start teaching Liberian Cultural Studies in Schools and Universities to help develop cross-cultural relationships among Liberians.
    With the speed of technology, it’s time so start promoting all forms of tourism in Liberia. The negative effect from the devastation caused by the civil war and the recent Ebola crises has caused tourism in Liberia to drop to a bare minimal. A well-developed tourists website and maintenance of our beautiful beaches could stir tourists back to Liberia thus generating more revenue for the country.

    Refurbishing our Cultural Museum is a positive start.

  5. This news is very positive that many people are giving the project A-! praises. In a typical Liberian expression we say, Ma Joyce thank you for the good job o.

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