Plans are in the works for a slave centre and museum at the Archives Department, which is set to become a key component of Barbados’ genealogy tourism product.
This announcement came from Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King, who also informed those gathered at the opening of today’s Geneology Marketplace in St Lucy, that the process of the digitization of documents held at the Department will start shortly, making it easier for Barbadians locally and abroad to conduct family research.
Today’s event was part of the We Gatherin’ initiative.
King said the museum should open its doors later this year, allowing people to view exhibits, which hold significance to the island’s past.
“For it is imperative and indeed essential that the over 200 years of enslavement in Barbados needs to be memorialized and recorded for posterity, especially since the majority of us have been a people who have known freedom for a shorter time than the 200 years of enslavement.
“In creating a sense of identity, we will forge stronger links such as Ghana, when we undertake DNA testing. Engaging in this procedure will further identify the family linkages between Barbados and other countries in the continent. To engage a wider audience, the Archives Department has created an Instagram account, Barbados Archives and a webpage that will soon be launched,” King said.
Minister King said the slavery research centre would also provide quicker access to information on the early history of Barbados during slavery. He said within the centre, a collection of rear books would be made available to the public to help Barbadians further understand their history.
“It will also be a resource for persons within the region and internationally, who are focused on conducting research on the Atlantic slave trade and slavery,” he said.
The Minister indicated that the slavery centre would provide a platform for the development of academic tourism, which he said would no doubt reap major economic benefits for Barbados.
Member of Parliament for St Lucy, Peter Phillips who welcomed those gathered to what he described as a beautiful parish and home of late Prime Minister Errol Walton Barrow, said the market was an opportunity for entrepreneurs and agencies to showcase what Barbados has to offer.
“I trust that the experience here this morning and throughout the rest of the day that you will certainly enjoy yourselves. I trust that this will be beneficial to all those persons who are here gathered today to display their craft.
“This is a grand opportunity for you and the Barbados Tourism Management Inc as we together join to market Barbados and what Barbados has to offer,” Phillips said. (AH)