GIS – 15 August, 2019: The Natural History Museum, comprising a new gallery dedicated to marine life, has been reopened following renovation works carried out for a period of two years to the tune of some Rs 13 million. The re-opening ceremony was held yesterday at Jardin de la Compagnie in Port-Louis. The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, and the Chairperson of the Mauritius Museums Council, Dr Kaviraj Sharma Sukon, were present.
In his address, Minister Roopun recalled that the museum had to be closed in January 2017 for renovation works due to severe roof leakage and other damages caused by heavy rainfalls. The works comprised of the replacement of the wooden flooring, partitioning works, replacement of existing wooden structures of the roof, replacement of corrugated iron sheets, sand blasting works, painting, waterproofing, amongst others.
Several parameters, the Minister pointed out, had to be respected during the renovation works given that the building is a national heritage. Major changes, he said, had to be carefully carried out so that the restoration does not falsify the artistic and historic evidence and the authenticity of the museum is preserved.
As regards the new gallery, Minister Roopun underlined that it has been conceptualised locally with respect to international norms. More than 100 species of fish and sea shells have been displayed in their natural dioramas to showcase the beauty of underwater life, he added. In addition, he said, documentary films, interactive games as well as a software on Virtual Reality showing the iconic bird Dodo 400 hundred years back in its natural habitat, have also been introduced.
In addition, the Minister invited the public, especially students, to visit the museum which will be exceptionally open till 9 pm for the next three days. In the coming weeks, he announced, that the museum will host a series of events including an exhibition with the Institut Français de Maurice, local Visual Artists who will occupy the garden for live painting and food carving/sculpture as well as a workshop on Clay modelling and sculpture.
For his part, Dr Sukon highlighted that the Natural History Museum is of great importance in the history of Mauritius as it has a huge historical collection of artefacts and genetics which portray the biodiversity that existed years ago. The museum, he said, will enable local and international experts to conduct research and provide deepened insights into the national history thereby paving the way for modern observations.
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