Ambassador Wang Zonglai and Dr. Lennox Honychurch with the Dominica and Chinese flags flying at Fort Shirley

Ambassador Wang Zonglai and Dr. Lennox Honychurch with the Dominica and Chinese flags flying at Fort Shirley

The project to develop Fort Shirley at the Cabrits National Park into a centre for heritage and ecological education, received a further boost this week, when the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China, Wang Zonglai, presented a donation of EC $25,000 for the second phase of the completion of the Fort Shirley Museum.

The museum is being established in the old gun powder magazine at the fort. Each of the three chambers will feature a different aspect of Dominica’s heritage. The first room will display artifacts dealing with nature and indigenous Amerindian heritage, the second will cover the general history of Dominica and the Portsmouth area including its African heritage and the third will highlight the military aspects of the Cabrits Garrison.

The government of the Peoples Republic of China has already financed the first phase of the project, which was the restoration of the building. This included the rebuilding of walls, relaying of floors, repainting and securing of doors and windows. This grant for the second phase, is to cover the building of display cases to exhibit hundreds of artifacts related to the history of the area.

When ambassador Wang visited Fort Shirley this week to view the development of the project and to formally make the donation, he expressed the wish of his government to encourage Dominica to educate its citizens and visitors about their own heritage. Museums and historic sites play an important part in public and tourist education in China and he was pleased that his country could assist Dominica in this way.

In thanking Ambassador for the Chinese government’s contribution, curator of the project, Dr. Lennox Honychurch, pointed out that Fort Shirley had become an important site for school visits and the museum project would be a great bonus as the site was in fact an educational centre open to all.

As a token of thanks, he presented the ambassador with a copy of his recent book on the Cabrits and Prince Rupert’s Bay.

The restoration of the Powder Magazine at Fort Shirley was funded by China in phase one of the museum project

The restoration of the Powder Magazine at Fort Shirley was funded by China in phase one of the museum project