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Grand Bahama’s Maritime Museum to be a premier attraction

Grand Bahama’s Maritime Museum to be a premier attraction

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas – The official opening of the Bahamas Maritime Museum demonstrates how the orange and blue economies can work for the good of a local economy, said Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis on Saturday.

Prime Minister Davis was the keynote speaker at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the Museum that is in Port Lucaya Marketplace.

Minister of Health and Wellness, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, gave remarks on behalf of the Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey.

The creation of the museum began under the former administration, led by the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, and completed under the current administration.

Dr. Minnis, as well as other parliamentarians, government officials and guests were invited to witness the ceremony, followed by a tour of the museum.

Describing how he initially met the owners of Allen Exploration, Gigi and Carl Allen, the Prime Minister said he was on a trip to Walkers Cay and Grand Cay following the passage of Hurricane Dorian in 2019.  He said he was touched by the humility, desire, and commitment displayed by the Allens to help and give back to their community – people who wanted to be a part of the country.

Also present for the event was a Director of the AMMC (Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation), Dr. Chris Curry, with a mandate to take the country to the “next level,” ensuring that “we uncover our history, our culture, our heritage and put it out there on display to the world.”

Prime Minister Davis announced the appointment of Geneva Rutherford as Assistant Director of the AMMC, to ensure that Grand Bahama “is not left out”.

He said, “We are here because we all share a passion for Bahamian history and a commitment for Grand Bahama’s revitalization. This beautiful museum’s exhibits open extraordinary windows into our past and indeed, makes it come alive for future generations.” “I would like to thank Carl and Gigi Allen for this generous initiative and for their family’s extraordinary commitment to The Bahamas over so many years. This museum, which showcases our country’s unique maritime history, is the first of its kind in The Bahamas.  We now have a new way for Bahamians and visitors alike to learn about and connect to the history of the Lucayan people who lived here 1,300 years ago.”

Prime Minister Davis then went on to describe that the transportation of slaves from the 15th to the 19th centuries as well as the treasure recovered by AllenX Exploration from the Maravillas, a 17th century shipwreck discovered in The Bahamas, are featured in the museum.

The artifacts have been researched, documented and are now on display through the efforts of AllenX and their work with government, through the AMMC.

“From seaports in Mexico and Columbia, Spanish ships laden with gold and silver traversed the Bahamian archipelago enroute back to the Iberian Peninsula. Wrecking, piracy, privateering, blockade running, bootlegging, boat building, the growth of regattas, I’ll take the liberty of proposing that no other country has quite as interesting or consequential a maritime history as The Bahamas.”  All of this, he said, has been captured by Carl Allen in the Bahamas Maritime Museum.

He continued, “We are grateful that these treasures are not hidden in a private collection, but instead, showcased here for historians, marine archeologists, visitors and so importantly, Bahamians.” The opening of the museum is “a part of rebuilding Grand Bahama and an example of how the orange and blue economies can contribute to a local economy — while not only preserving Bahamian culture and heritage, but educating younger generations.”

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