Christianborg Castle, the former seat of government and old slave dungeon located at Osu in Accra, has finally been converted into a presidential museum.
It is to serve as a legacy project as the country commemorates the 60th independence anniversary themed, ‘Ghana: 60 years on – mobilizing for Ghana’s future,’ which will be year-long celebrations beginning today, March 6.
The Christianborg Castle became the seat of Ghana’s government in 1877 when Accra became the capital city of the Gold Coast.
In 2013, it was moved to the new edifice named Jubilee House – a legacy project under President JA Kufuor’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration – to mark the country’s 50th independence anniversary.
The name Jubilee House was, however, changed to Flagstaff House when the now opposition National Democratic Congress (NPP) took over from Kufuor’s government.
President Akufo-Addo, who currently heads an NPP government, said “This castle is therefore a perfect location to house a museum which celebrates the achievements and the lives of the presidents who spent their time working in it.”
Launching an exhibition for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary and the commissioning of the facility as a presidential museum at the castle yesterday, he indicated, “The vision is to have a state-of-the-art museum which will house presidential artifacts, presidential papers, wax works of our presidents and also have on display personal possessions like books, art works and items of clothing to allow us to honour appropriately their memories.”
He maintained that “one interesting exhibit at this museum will surely be the room the British Queen, Elizabeth II, slept in during her state visit to Ghana in 1960; and there will also be bookshops, research rooms, well-manicured gardens and sculptures and artworks rendered by Ghana’s finest craftsmen and artists for researchers.”
According to him, the establishment of the museum is an indication of the special attention his government intends to pay to the development and promotion of tourism, adding, “Investment, innovation, the pursuit of service excellence and meaningful partnerships, will be towards the realization of this vision.”
In that regard, he instructed the sector Minister, Catherine Afeku, to convene quickly an investment and cultural forum.
“The forum is expected to, amongst other things, focus on drawing the necessary investment towards the restoration of our forts and castles, provision of access for our creative communities; that is our singers, dancers and filmmakers to investments and ensuring a vibrant cultural content for both domestic and international tourism.”
President Akufo-Addo also wants the forum to propose ways by which the country would appropriately honour members of the African Diaspora, Maya Angelou, George Padmore, W.B. Dubois, who were initially interred in Ghana, aside the likes of Mohammed Ali, Pele, amongst others, who stressed their connection to the country.
“One can imagine the amount of interest and the boost for tourism this will generate in the African-American communities of the Americas and the Caribbean,” President Nana Akufo-Addo underscored.
He therefore tasked Ms Catherine Afeku to “spearhead the transformation of the old castle into a museum that celebrates our past presidents and inspires all of us to look to their achievements and learn lessons with which we can contribute to Ghana’s progress and by so doing leave a worthwhile legacy for future generations.”
The president entreated the general public to endeavour to go and see the interesting things that would be on display and learn about the country’s history.
“I pray that this exhibition inspires Ghanaians to use their talents and energies to do something in their own small way to boost Ghana’s development in line with the theme of the 60th anniversary ‘mobilising for the future,’” he noted with hope.
Present were the Chief of Staff, Frema Osei-Opare; Secretary to the president, Nana Asante Bediatuo; Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul; Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery; Minister for Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku; Minister for Gender, Child and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba; Nii Owuo Duwuona XI, Osu Mantse; the Chief of Akwamu, Odeneho Kwafuor Akoto III and the Danish Ambassador to Ghana.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent