MONROVIA, Montserrado – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has urged Liberians to protect, maintain, and defend the refurbished National Museum to enable it to grow.
Speaking at the official opening of the museum on Wednesday, Sirleaf said the reopening of the museum marks another milestone in the history of Liberia as it progresses towards national reconstruction and development.
“I am proud that as president of Liberia, I have been able to restore the symbols of the waves of our evolution and I call on all Liberians to share in this rich heritage by visiting the museum,” Sirleaf said.
She expressed hope that reopening the museum would give Liberians the opportunity to trace their history to see the symbols of their leaders over time and to experience the waves of national evolution.
The renovation of the National Museum was valued at US$400,000 and was necessary after years of decay and neglect, in addition to the severe looting the museum experienced during the country’s 14-year civil crisis.
Carol J. Alexander, curator and chief executive officer of MaBu, said she was asked by Sirleaf to help organize the artifacts in the museum while visiting the country this year.
“Liberia has a great story and that is why I was so honored and pleased when Pres. Sirleaf asked me to help tell the story of Liberia’s complex history and rich cultural heritage in its national museum,” she said.
“The results are reflected in the three exhibitions used in the museum’s artifacts, artwork, documents, photographs, and other memorabilia to present Liberia’s story in an art center setting.”
She explained that it took her four months to work on the redesigning of the museum, noting that this is only the “first phase of the National Museum.”
The top floor of the museum features a contemporary collection of works curated by two eminent Liberian artist couple, Mama and Baba Shabu.
The collection contains pieces from painters Abu Fofana, Godwin Yoryor, Isaac Doubor and Lawson Sworh; textile artist Mohamed S. Bah; sculptor James Deiyee Zolo; poet Lekpele M. Nyamalon; as well as works from the Gbarnga Fiber Artists Collection.
The reopening of the museum was graced by cultural performances from the Balawala Foundation International.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah