Ministry to mark International Museum Day

The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) will host a mini-exhibition in the main foyer of the Ministry’s main office at Malifa on Monday to mark International Museum Day.

The world commemorates the day on May 18 every year with the 2020 theme being “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion.”

In a statement released by the Ministry last Friday, the public has been advised that the mini-exhibition will run for two days from May 18-19 and will feature a series of photographs of Samoa from 1900-1962, which highlight Samoa’s journey towards its independence in 1962.

While the mini-exhibition is open to the public, the M.E.S.C. has advised that social distancing guidelines will be observed throughout the two-day event.

Ironically, the celebration of the International Museum Day will coincide with the start of work to demolish the 118-year-old Apia Courthouse, on Beach Road.

Attempts by various groups to save the century-old building, which served the German and New Zealand colonial administrations as well as the early Samoa Government, has fallen short. 

In 2017 the lease of the Courthouse was transferred to the Samoa International Financial Authority (S.I.F.A.) by the Apia Courthouse Trust, on the understanding that they would renovate the historical building and retain its original structure. 

But that did not materialise as envisaged with S.I.F.A. early this year seeking quotations for the demolition and clearing of the old Apia Courthouse. A contract of T$72,990 was then awarded to local firm Schwartz Construction Limited to undertake the demolition, which is scheduled to begin Monday.

There was some discussion to turn the old Courthouse into a museum with Samoan academic and historian, Meleisea Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea, writing to the Samoa Observer in 2018 to ask why it couldn't be restored as part of the Government's water front beautification project.

The M.E.S.C. media release on the International Museum Day stated that it wanted to raise awareness and appreciation of museums as “important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among people”.

“The Museum of Samoa along with other museums in the country are institutions established to protect, preserve and promote Samoa’s history and heritage, drawing on opportunities to learn and value our culture and our people,” stated the Ministry's media release.

“M.E.S.C. conveys its best wishes to all the Museums in Samoa, to our stakeholders and volunteers from national, regional and international organizations who continue to assist the Museum of Samoa in its effort to safeguard and foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of our heritage and history.”

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