Officials have commissioned a new National Museum in Montserrat.
The £600,000 structure was designed and is being built by local architect firm Alford Dyett Associates.
Director of Tourism at the Montserrat Tourism Board, Ms. Ernestine Cassell, comments: “The start of building work on the new National Museum in Little Bay is a clear indicator that Montserrat is well on its way to re-development following the years of volcanic activity.
“It’s a vital part of our tourism product and represents another important milestone in Montserrat’s history.”
The Montserrat National Trust will be responsible for setting up the exhibitions once the new museum is completed. Montserrat’s old museum was located in an old sugar mill on Richmond Hill in the south of the island.
This site has been abandoned because of volcanic activity, but the artefacts and displays were removed from the sugar mill and are currently in storage.
The new National Museum will have exhibition areas, a souvenir shop, meeting room, café and activity area.
The museum will also be equipped to accommodate those with disabilities.
The new museum is the latest in a series of regeneration projects on Montserrat:
New airport and airline
Around two thirds of the population left Montserrat after Plymouth was evacuated in 1997, but in the last few years the population has risen again to over 5,000 people. The island was further opened up to persons in the Diaspora and visitors with the opening of the new John A Osborne Airport in 2005.
A new port facility is also currently being constructed in Little Bay, which is scheduled to be completed by 2013. This will provide safe anchorage for small cruise ships, yachts, boaters, as well the as the fast ferry that currently services the Antigua-Montserrat route.
Modern Volcanic Observatory and Volcano Interpretation Centre
To monitor the ongoing volcanic activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat has one of the most modern volcanic observatories in the world, with the latest technology and research facilities. Construction of a Volcano Interpretation Centre in Little Bay is also scheduled to commence later this year.