Work is underway with the renovation of Her Majesty’s old prison building on Upper Main Street as government continues with efforts to improve and enhance the city of Road Town.
Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark Vanterpool stated that the project is of great importance as Government continues to focus on improving the tourism product in the Virgin Islands.
Honourable Vanterpool said, “The old prison has such a rich history as it was constructed in 1774 and this history should be told to our current and future generations. The Prison Museum will feature historic displays of the prison services, administration and other aspects of the building’s historical uses.”
The Minister further outlined that the proposed works are expected to last approximately 12 weeks. He said that upon completion of the project, the museum will be transferred to the Ministry of Education and Culture which is the Ministry mandated with the responsibility for daily operations and maintenance of museums.
The old prison building once housed fire services, immigration and customs. The new museum is proposed to focus on the social history from piracy to enslavement. Visitors to the museum will be informed on the life and times of the people, incidents of crime, punishment, social insurrections and events which may have led to incarceration.
Along with exhibits such as death warrants, murder weapons, evidence, photographs, newspaper articles and other items of interest, the museum will also house a gift shop and a snack bar.
The restoration of the building began in December 2014. The works are being executed by the Ministry of Communications and Works in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The Project Manager is Captain Hugh Whistler an experienced engineer and contractor who worked on the restoration of the Old Governor’s House Museum. On completion of the project, the old prison will become a historic museum and tourist attraction.
Government continues to develop, maintain and support an enhanced community life for every resident and visitor to the Virgin Islands.