87.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


At least two V.I. government officials are in Denmark as part of the Virgin Islands' formal agreement with that country to share archival material and cooperate in historic preservation. The agreement was signed Oct. 27, 1999, at a ceremony at Government House, St. Thomas.
Claudette Lewis, assistant commissioner of the Planning and Natural Resources Department, and Myron Jackson, director of the Division of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, traveled to Denmark as part of "the ongoing efforts," Government House spokeswoman Rina Jacobs McBrowne confirmed several days ago.
However, she said she does not know when they left, how long they will be there, what they are doing, whether anyone else is on the trip or the cost of the trip. She deferred to PNR spokeswoman Annette Morales for those details. But Morales said she was instructed by the Government House public relations office that that office is to handle inquiries about the trip.
McBrowne did say that a private organization, the Friends of the (Fort Christian) Museum, is picking up the tab.
That was news to Joseph Aubain, an officer with the not-for-profit Friends organization, who said it has a tight budget. Fort Christian Museum curator Delores Jowers, who heads up the Friends, said Lewis told her the trip is being funded through "some sort of grant."
Several non-V.I. government groups already have contributed to the general effort. Planning and Natural Resources held an archival symposium March 30 and April 1 on St. Thomas and St. Croix that was sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Culture, Topa Equities (VI) Ltd., the Virgin Islands Humanities Council, the West Indian Co. Ltd. and the Prosser/ICC Foundation.
The actual agreement between Denmark and the Virgin Islands lists the following initiatives:
* Surveying and arranging relevant documentation contained in the Danish West Indian Local Government Archives housed by the Danish National Archives in Copenhagen, assessing the material with respect to its preservation requirements.
* Surveying and processing the official records from the Danish period (1672-1917) housed by public authorities or institutions or in church or private collections in the Virgin Islands.
* Establishing collaboration with the National Archives of the United States to develop an archival survey of the Danish West Indian Local Government records housed there.
* Publishing comprehensive finding aids for the records mentioned above.
* Establishing on the basis of those archival surveys a program for copying the records and for distributing those copies with a view to supporting cultural, historical or genealogical activities in Denmark and in the Virgin Islands.
* Considering the possible transfer of original archival materials from the Danish West Indian Local Government Archives housed by the Danish National Archives to the Virgin Islands, and the preconditions for such transfer.
* Developing and implementing a training program for the Virgin Islands in the use and administration of archival records and in the Danish language and Gothic script, and a program for exchange of archival personnel.
* Developing a bilateral Archival Commission to be co-headed by the Danish National Archives and the Planning and Natural Resources Department to oversee the implementation of the activities pursuant to this agreement.
* Considering further cooperation in research into the history of the former Danish West Indies and in other fields related to the preservation of the common cultural heritage of Denmark and the Virgin Islands.
* Discussing the distribution of financial costs involved in the implementation of the activities pursuant to this agreement.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and PNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett signed the agreement on behalf of the Virgin Islands. Culture Minister Elsebeth G. Nielsen and Danish National Archives director Johan P. Noack signed for Denmark.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.