Works to convert the old Her Majesty’s Prison on Main Street into a museum is expected to commence in the next coming weeks.
The announcement was made by City Manager Janice Brathwaite-Edwards during a 19 August television program. During that television appearance the City Manager said that the Old Prison was decommissioned and now the authorities have the opportunity to move forward with its plans for the museum.
She said that the building will be transformed into a prison museum and that works will begin in early September. It was explained that the new museum will have various prison artifacts on display and highlight the building’s various uses over the many years. Once opened, she said the public will have an opportunity to visit and see some of the historical background of the property.
“Going into the building, there are still some replicas and information from the people who were there and we are trying to preserve that information so people can see it,” the City Manager stated. She disclosed that this information includes items such as rosters showing how the prison operated.
Mrs. Brathwaite-Edwards said that the restoration would not require much work, and that the building is intact: “It is not at all derelict, it is in a position right now where we can restore it and bring it back to life, and I really am interested to see how it is going to impact Main Street…Even though it is a closed facility at the moment we get a number of calls from people just wanting to see what it looks like as it is; they have no problem with what is actually going on in there. They just want an opportunity to see; so if they want an opportunity to see as it is in its present condition can you imagine when we fix it up and we create an atmosphere that people will want to go there,” she added.
During the first NDP government there were plans to build a museum on the site of the Old Prison. The building was to include a cafeteria, sky dome, art displays, galleries for paintings and statuary, as well as a library, gift shop and other amenities. At the time a Puerto Rico architect/consultant produced blue prints and a budget of $2.5 million for the proposed three-story building was hinted to. A BVI residing lady who was a rather enthusiastic member of the project feasibility committee promised to get important paintings and donations for the museum. After a few meetings of the committee the project was shelved. In later years the mentioned lady left the BVI for a Pacific Ocean island where she said she was successfully pursuing similar endeavours.