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15.11.2007 General News

Ussher Fort Museum Opens To The Public

The Ghana Museums and Monuments Board yesterday officially opened a new museum that would focus on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade at the Ussher Fort prisons in Accra.
The Museum funded by the European Union through UNESCO has in stock a collection of valuable personal effect of those who were involved in the slave trade as well as paintings and art crafts that depict the slave trade.  On display were equipment used to chain the slaves, drinking cups made of clay, huge grinding stones and paintings of those raped in the heinous trade.
Mr Abeiku Dickson, Special Assistant to the Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations, who cut the tape to open the museum said the ministry was poised to create tourism products that would offer fulfilment to tourists.  'Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world and Ghana has to take advantage of it'.
Mr Dickson noted that the slave trade was peculiar to Ghana's history and that Ghana alone had 42 forts and castles at the time of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  He called for co-operation from the chiefs and people of Ga Mashie and urged the Museum and Monuments Boards to ensure that the Ussher Fort Museum was managed with sustainability.
Mr Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, European Union Resident Commissioner, said the EU was fully aware of the importance of cultural heritage and its potential role for local economic development hence their support for the project. The project funded with 420,000 Ghana cedis through the European Development Fund, he said, had a huge potential for the development of cultural tourism.
Mr Sebregondi said the EU also funded the museum because of the historical links of the Ussher forts with various European countries. He expressed the hope that the restoration of the bastion of the fort and its conversion into a functional and sustainable museum would raise awareness and educate young people on the preservation of the cultural heritage represented by the fort.
'For the general public as well as Ghanaian school children, it offers an additional opportunity to harnessing education for cultural heritage development.'
Mr Sebregondi said the museum would allow international tourists to stay a bit longer in Accra before going to Elmina or Cape-Coast as a recreational area.
Mrs Sarah Bucknor, Manager of the Museum, said the museum focused on slavery because the slave trade was an ancient institution and it was established at the Ussher Fort because the Fort is part of the world heritage sites selected for funding by UNESCO.
She expressed hope that people would patronise the museum and also urged the general public to visit the place and learn more about their history.
Mr Joseph Maisie, Acting Director of the Ghana Museum and Monuments Board said the museum would place much emphasis on the development of tourism in the Ga Mashie area.
Nii Tackie Commey, Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo, said the opening of the museum in the Ga Mashie area was a welcomed one and called on citizens to co-operate with the authorities to ensure its sustainability
Nii Okaidja II, Gbese Manste who represented the Ga Manste, expressed gratitude to all those who contributed to the planning and completion of the museum project.