Govt plans to move Walter Roth Museum, staff by December

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The Ministry of the Presidency is planning to remove the Walter Roth Museum and its employees to the National Museum by the end of the year, a source has revealed.

The Walter Roth Museum

The Walter Roth Museum

According to the source who is acquainted with the affairs of the museum – which is the oldest museum of anthropology in the English-speaking Caribbean – the administration was informed by the “military” that the staff would be relocated to the National Museum by December on an order from President David Granger.

“We were told that the President wanted the place,” the source said.

According to a report in today’s Guyana Times, employees of the museum yesterday also confirmed that they would be relocated. The employees stated that they were told the President thought it was better for all of the museums to be in one place.

The museum was founded with the collections of Guyanese Archaeologist, Dr Denis Williams and in 1980, the ethnographic collections of Dr Walter Roth, Mr J J Quelch and Sir Everardim Thurn were transferred to the museum from the National Museum. The museum’s collections also include dug up artefacts from all 10 administrative regions.

In an invited comment on the issue, Former Culture Youth and Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, also stated that he heard of the museum being moved. “We have to see what this is all about… it is an institution and instead of dismantling it, we have to be preserving it and growing it because it has a very important role to play in Guyana,” he said.

Dr Anthony said he does not think the President is aware of the space the National Museum has, since it has been overcrowded with its artefacts.

“They cannot display their current holdings because there is a lack of space and to move an entire museum and somehow cram it into the space of the National Museum I don’t think that is possible,” he said.

Anthony added that if it is true that the President wanted all the museums in one place then the Government would have to build another building and he does not believe that they are rebuilding the current museum and “if they are doing that, where are they getting the budget from because there was no budget voted in 2016 for it.”

The Walter Roth Museum was established in 1974 but did not open to the public until 1982. It is located on Main Street, Georgetown. It is famous for its journals in some of the leading universities of the world.

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