The NMI Museum, which is currently undergoing major renovation work, is scheduled to re-open in the next 30 days, according to museum director Daniel Aquino.
He told Saipan Tribune that phase one of the extensive renovation work has been completed and that he plans to open the museum’s doors within 30 days.
The museum’s longstanding problems became more pronounced in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor in August 2015, which laid waste to a large tract of Saipan.
The museum’s walls were damaged due to the leaking roof. The leak itself was a mix of dirt, moss, and rainwater. The floors were flooded due to plumbing issues and many historical artifacts were exposed to moisture and water damage.
Aquino said the process of renovating the museum’s entire roof was not an easy task. The biggest challenge they faced when was completely demolishing the air-conditioning ducts and the vegetation that had grown in the cracks. After completely taking apart the roof, workers placed layers of sealant on the roof in order for the new roof to withstand the elements, Aquino said.
According to Aquino, because of the outstanding repairs made on the roof, he is certain that leaks will no longer be a problem for the museum.
The next phase would be to renovate the museum’s plumbing and broken waterlines.
Aquino said the museum’s floors were completely flooded because of the damaged pipes beneath the floors and within the walls. The corroded waterline all over the museum was what flooded the entire museum, Aquino said.
He is looking at fixing the plumbing and re-painting the museum’s walls simultaneously. That would speed up the renovation process.
Before opening, Aquino is looking at getting back the museum’s running water. Based on previous records, the museum was without running water for almost three years. Aquino also plans to completely redecorate the museum by changing the museum’s storyline and updating the canvasses that will display the artifacts.
According to Aquino, IT&E has committed three small air-conditioning units for the museum and he plans to repair the 4,000 BTU air-conditioning unit that the museum already has.
IT&E and businessman Juan Santiago Tenorio have also promised to donate 20-foot containers where the museum can store the artifacts that will not be displayed in the museum.
According to Aquino, the renovations to the museum would not be possible without the help of the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, the Marianas Visitor’s Authority, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, and the support of companies who see the importance of preserving historical artifacts.