NMI Museum of History and Culture executive director Danny Aquino has requested $695,000 in supplemental funding from the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation for continued emergency repairs and upgrades to its building, which was built in 1926, plus enhancements to its displays.
In a letter to SNILD chair Sen. Vinnie Vinson F. Sablan (R-Saipan), Aquino said the projects are digital and technological upgrades for exhibits in the amount of $170,000; emergency repairs of the museum gallery, $45,000; emergency repairs of the old Japanese bunker, $65,000; repairs of the remaining offices, staff restroom, and equipment storage, $125,000; repurposing the old pavilion for additional storage, $110,000; installing a new protective roof coating for the storage roof, pavilion, generator room, and museum, $45,000; procuring items for the educational resource center, $75,000; installing outdoor security cameras, $10,000; and purchasing a new van, $50,000.
He said they are also planning to procure display cases with lighting. He said if given the funding, he plans to finish all the projects in one year.
He pointed out that the museum hosted over 1,500 CNMI students and an additional 4,500 guests from the museum activities this fiscal year despite COVID-19.
Aquino said the museum has been in operation for over 20 years without any real technological upgrades.
In late 2019, the museum was able to complete and upgrade phase 1 of a four-part plan at a cost of $25,000 performed by the Guam Museum, Aquino said., adding that the projects he identified are for the completion of the remaining three upgrades, and to purchase large LED digital panels would that would be installed in the Treasure of the Concepcion room.
“This will allow our guests to get an educational benefit and visual realization of the efforts taken to recover the treasure,” he said.
He said they need 20 educational audio sticks that will be placed in various exhibits and provide educational information; two large screen interactive TV to provide learning for school children; and installation of exhibit lighting.
Aquino said the main gallery needs to be repaired after multiple cracks were noticed and some cement plaster have fallen. He said the old Japanese hospital, where the museum is situated, is 95 years old and that funding is urgently needed to spare guests from getting hurt from falling plaster. He said repairs would involve spalling in the guest restrooms, removing cracks from the ceiling, and treating all rebars with anti-corrosion liquid.