Casemates to be research centre

The Royal Gazette - Bermuda’s former prison is to be reborn as a history research centre, the executive director of the National Museum of Bermuda said yesterday.

Elena Strong said the Casemates buildings in Dockyard would be used to focus on “the Atlantic World from 1415 to 1945”.

She added: “The concept is to establish a multidisciplinary research facility at Casemates comprising a consortium of universities from the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Africa, which will operate under the umbrella of the NMB.”

The museum, formerly called the Maritime Museum, acquired the Casemates property from the Bermuda Government in December 2009.

The complex was once a barracks for the Royal Marine guards until The Royal Navy departed Bermuda in the 1950s, and then a maximum-security prison from the late 1950s to 1994.

The building has been under restoration for years, but the new concept was outlined as Ms Strong laid out initiatives under the museum’s ten-year plan.

She said the plan was designed to boost Bermudian knowledge of history and the island’s cultural assets, strengthen research and make the NMB “a must-see museum”.

The new centre will also be used to build on education, including teacher training and schools programmes.

Ms Strong said the education strategy would guide the “learning landscape” of the museum down to publications, research and collecting. The former curator and deputy director at NMB took over the top job a year ago after Edward Harris retired. Ms Strong said that her biggest challenge had been repairs needed after four hurricanes hit the island from 2014 to 2016.

She added the storm strikes were “the worst disaster in the museum’s history”.

Ms Strong said that the museum had now “emerged from the cloud of disasters”.