By Robert A Emmanuel
The Historical and Archaeological Society (HAS) held the first event in its ‘Unlock the Museum’ series over the weekend, as persons passionate about Antigua’s history traversed Fort James.
The ‘Unlock the Museum’ series was created to share some of the museum’s most intriguing artefacts, stories, and heritage about Antigua and Barbuda.
Observer media travelled to the site of the first event in the series, Fort James, as Dr Christopher Waters, an archaeologist and expert in Antiguan fortifications spoke to us about what the ‘Unlock the Museum’ initiative means.
“The idea is to bring all of this knowledge, history, material that we have to the wider public, unlocking our archives…so these field trips that we are doing now actually hark back to about 30 years ago, which was common within the Society,” Dr Waters explained.
Dr Waters said that this project was all about getting back to normal business following the end of the pandemic.
He added that the focus for this series will be historical sites, both well-known and little-known, around Antigua.
“[We are] thinking different types of churchyards and churches, or special windmills, the areas around Bethesda, the tamarind tree, things that have cultural significance, but are not visited all that often,” he said.
The hope for the museum with this initiative would be to grow the museum’s membership as well as developing new relationships with local, regional, and international visitors, schools, and organisations for educational outreach, research, and capacity-building initiatives.
Dr Waters explained how the public can get involved in the supporting these initiatives.
“We do a lot of educational outreach, we love to talk with the public…and the other thing that people can do, if they’re interested, is anything from volunteering their time, resources but also if they know of a historical site, or heritage site or a site that it is important to you, take pictures, write a paragraph on it explaining why it is important, and bring that into the museum,” he said.
HAS is the oldest continuously operating NGO in this country, mainly responsible for managing the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.