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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 15, 2024


March 8, 2002 – The V.I. government is mulling over an offer from a group of Danish tradesmen to help preserve some of the territory's architectural treasures.
Last week, a delegation of Danish craftsmen and students toured St. Croix's Whim Museum and Fort Frederick on St. Croix and Fort Christian on St. Thomas to examine the historic details of the structures.
"They were here to explore the possibility of an exchange of craftsmen between Denmark and the Virgin Islands," said Myron Jackson, director of the Planning and Natural Resources Department's Office of Historic Preservation.
The "Virgin Islands-Danish Apprenticeship Initiative" seeks to deepen the understanding of history as reflected in architecture. "Currently there is a cultural revival being expressed by the Danes and Virgin Islanders with respect to studying their past histories and establishing cultural linkages. It is in this spirit of collaboration that the preservation initiative is being launched, in order to involve both communities in preserving the architectural heritage of the Virgin Islands," according to a program discription provided by the Historic Preservation Office.
Jackson said limited economic resources in the terrtitory contributes to the neglect seen in many of its historic buildings.
One objective of the apprenticeship initiative is to train crafts workers to repair and restore historic buildings in the Virgin Islands. The proposal calls for visiting Danish tradesmen to work with students interested in learning traditional brick laying, woodworking, masonry and ironwork. Jackson said putting the proposal into practice would require a memorandum of understanding jointly agreed to by PNR, the Education Department and a number of not-for-profit organizations.
The trades workers exchange and a training pilot program could begin next year, according to a statement from the Historic Preservation Office. There also is talk of creating a craft learning center for visiting researchers as well as high school and college students.
If an agreement can be reached, the buildings could benefit by serving as training sites, Jackson said. He said other historic public structures also might be included in such a program.

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