Government House Restoration Programme Advances with Focus on Heritage Training


Government House Restoration Programme Advances with Focus on Heritage Training

Antigua and Barbuda :-  The Government House restoration programme is making significant strides as it enters its third phase, which will encompass the refurbishment of the main building and gardens. The programme’s commitment to preserving the historical and architectural heritage of Antigua and Barbuda is underscored by its emphasis on training the next generation of heritage craftsmen.

Currently, a brick retainer wall with capstone is being constructed as part of the restoration efforts. Local second-generation mason, Henson Wilshaw, is following in his father Hayden’s footsteps and is actively involved in this phase of the project. At twenty-one years old, Henson already has over fifteen years of experience and knowledge, and plans to continue to learn all he can about the art of stone masonry. Henson’s dedication to preserving traditional craftsmanship exemplifies the programme’s mission to pass on invaluable heritage skills to the youth of Antigua and Barbuda.

In a significant development, the UK-based Commonwealth Heritage Forum (CHF), a prominent watchdog for preservation of which His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams is Patron, has partnered with the Heritage Trust of Antigua and Barbuda (HTAB) to offer heritage training skills for the youth. This co-operation emphasizes the importance of equipping the next generation with the knowledge and expertise needed to safeguard the cultural legacy of the islands.

In May 2023, the CHF conducted a Heritage Skills training course at Government House, with participation from neighboring territories including Trinidad, Barbados, Dominica  and Guyana.  Attendees were provided with hands-on experience and practical knowledge in heritage preservation. The success of this initiative has paved the way for the next training opportunity, which is scheduled to take place from May 13th to 24th at the St.John’s Anglican Cathedral, with support from Government House. This training programme will offer those present, the chance to learn from experienced craftsmen and gain practical know-how in heritage skills, ensuring the continuity of traditional craftsmanship in Antigua and Barbuda.

The Government House restoration programme remains committed to its dual mission of preserving historical architecture and empowering the youth through heritage training. By collaborating with esteemed organizations such as the CHF, the World Monument Fund (WMF), and the London Museum Docklands, the programme is poised to make a lasting impact on the conservation of Antigua and Barbuda’s rich cultural heritage.

For more information about the Government House restoration programme and upcoming heritage training opportunities, please contact the HTAB at [email protected].

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