The slave history museum in Calabar, which keeps relics of the transatlantic slave trade and modern-day slavery, needs help to save it from deteriorating.
The Curator, Omawunmi Ofumaka, made the declaration in Calabar on Wednesday when she spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
“Nigeria has two slave history museums; one in Calabar and the other in Badagry. These museums, especially those in Calabar, keep relics of the slave trade and should be maintained and updated.
“People come into Calabar, and they don’t know where to go, but when they come here, they are surprised that there is still a place like this.
“We have worked on the sound systems, air conditioners, and generator, which were all in poor working conditions before now, but a lot still needs to be done,’’ she said.
Mrs Ofumaka appealed to the Cross River Government, in particular, to assist the museum.
“National Museums and Monuments run museums, but it behooves states and individuals, as stakeholders, to assist museums and ensure that they are up and running the way they should.
“The Calabar museum, built by Mr Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River, should be preserved because it is one of the nation’s heritage,’’ she added.
The curator noted that Cross River used to do a lot in tourism, but the story today is that the museum had been closed, whereas it is open and running.
Mrs Ofumaka said she had just sent a quotation to the National Museums and Monuments in Abuja and hoped that the museum would undergo renovation in a few months.
Earlier, Cross River Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Eric Anderson, told NAN that museums are run by the National Museum and Monuments Commission and are not the direct responsibility of the state.
Mr Anderson stressed that while the state government could support the museum in Calabar, it could not be held responsible for its dangerous state.
NAN reports that the Old Residency Museum, also in Calabar, has deteriorated over the years following a barricade of its entrance over “security reasons’’.
The Slave History Museum is a museum in the Nigerian city of Calabar, which was a critical embarkation port of the African Slave Trade, about 200,000 Africans being sold as enslaved people from Calabar between 1662 and 1863.
Established in 2007 and opened on 17 March 2011, the museum was established as a tourism initiative by the Cross River State and is directly managed by the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
It is located at the site of a fifteenth-century slave-trading warehouse in Marina Beach. Major exhibits include: The Esuk Mba Slave Market in Akpabuyo describes a market where new captives from the hinterland (typically but not always prisoners of war) were sold into the slave-trading system and Chains and Shackles, which included artefacts of slavery such as various restraints.
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