09 May 2018
- By Lori Lyn C. Lirio – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan on Friday recognized government and private agencies that helped restore the NMI Museum of History and Culture.
He noted that the museum was almost shut down permanently because of its deplorable condition caused by inadequate funding, understaffing and a destructive typhoon.
“The museum is as much a tribute to the story of the people of the Marianas as it is to the resilience and determination of those who have contributed to the museum’s operation,” Kilili said in his remarks. “They have kept the museum alive.”
NMI Museum executive director Danny Aquino said the repair and renovation started as soon as he was appointed in June 2017.
The museum is located in a 92-year-old hospital building constructed during the Japanese administration of the NMI.
“The structure itself is an artifact of our history,” Kilili said. “Its concrete, paintless exterior told the story of war and every typhoon that should have shut it down permanently.”
After Typhoon Soudelor in Aug. 2015, Kilili said he visited the museum. He described what he witnessed: the artifacts were damaged, the roof was leaking, mold covered the walls, floors were flooded, the plumbing wrecked. The museum was forced to close its doors to visitors indefinitely.
He said he came back after six months and was amazed by the repairs undertaken by Aquino.
When Aquino was appointed executive director, his first move was to secure a budget.
Kilili said government agencies and businesses helped the museum by providing financial and material support:
- • The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation appropriated $55,000 while the Marianas Visitors Authority provided $50,000.
- • IT&E, Saipan Stevedore, Saipan Shipping, CMS Trucking, Soudelor Corporation, Tropical Gardens and other local businesses also provided material support.
- • Help from the staff of the Saipan Mayor’s Office moved the work along at a faster pace. The mayor’s team assisted museum staff with grounds maintenance, landscaping, and other outdoor work.
“I visited the museum in February to see this progress. I can report the difference between then and now,” Kilili said, adding: “Visitors to our islands can orient themselves to the three-and-a-half millennia of Marianas history at our museum.”
Among those he recognized were IT&E, which donated most of the air-conditioning units and one 30-foot container; Saipan Stevedore/CMS Trucking which donated a 20-foot container and equipment to transport three containers; Tropical Gardens; Soudelor Corporation; NMI Museum staff Danny Aquino, James Macaranas, Allan Lifoifoi and Wenny Haruo; McDonald’s Saipan; Tan Su Li; Tan Foundation; Saipan Mayor David Apatang and his office; Tasi Tours; the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation; and the Marianas Visitors Authority.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/104286-kilili-recognizes-government-agencies-and-businesses-for-helping-nmi-museum