Calabar Slave History Museum in a deplorable state – Curator
The Calabar Slave History Museum, which preserves remnants of the transatlantic slave trade and modern day slavery, needs help to save it from decay.
The curator, Omawunmi Ofumaka made the statement 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, preserve remnants of the slave trade and should be maintained and updated.
“People come to Calabar, and they don’t know where to go, but when they come here, they’re surprised there’s still a place like this.
“We have worked on the sound systems, air conditioners and generator, all of which were in poor working condition before, but there is still a lot to do,” she said.
Ms. Ofumaka appealed to the Cross River government, in particular, to help the museum.
“National museums and monuments manage museums, but it is the responsibility of states and individuals, as stakeholders, to support museums and ensure that they function as they should.
“The Calabar Museum, built by Mr. Donald Duke, former Governor of Cross River, must be preserved as it is part of the national heritage,” she added.
The curator noted that Cross River did a lot of sightseeing, but today’s story is that the museum was closed, while it is open and functioning.
Ms Ofumaka said she had just sent a quote to National Museums and Monuments in Abuja and hoped the museum would be refurbished within a few months.
Earlier, the Cross River Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Eric Anderson told NAN that the museums are managed by the National Museums and Monuments Commission and are not the direct responsibility of the State.
Mr Anderson stressed that while the state government could support the Calabar museum, it could not be held responsible for its dangerous condition.
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NAN reports that the Old Residency Museum, also in Calabar, has deteriorated over the years following its entrance being barricaded for “security reasons”.
The Slave History Museum is a museum located in the Nigerian city of Calabar, which was a key embarkation port for the African slave trade, with an estimated 200,000 Africans being sold as Calabar slaves between 1662 and 1863.
Established in 2007 and opened on March 17, 2011, the museum was established as a tourism initiative by Cross River State and is directly operated by the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
It is located on the site of a 15th century slave trade warehouse in Marina Beach. Key exhibits include: Esuk Mba Slave Market in Akpabuyo describes a market where new outback captives (usually but not always POWs) were sold into the slave trade system and Chains and Shackles, which included slavery artifacts such as various restraints.
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