I would like to begin by wishing all of you at the Museums and Monuments Board a Happy 60th anniversary. Exactly sixty years today, on the eve of independence, Princess Marina of Kent, representing the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, formally opened the National Museum. Congratulations!
Sixty years on, I am honoured to be here to open an exhibition commemorating this sixty-year old journey – Ghana: the Road to Independence. This exhibition pays homage to our forebears, whose blood, sweat and toil won us our independence.
I am happy this exhibition showcases many everyday people, ranging from market women to farmers, without whose contributions our independence would have remained a pipe dream.
This exhibition also puts the spotlight on statesmen like Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford; and an accomplished playwright and lawyer, Kobina Sekyi. Paa Grant, the financier and president of the United Gold Coast Convention, the Gold Coast’s first mass political party, is featured here too and so are the Big Six – Obetsebi Lamptey, Kwame Nkrumah, Ako Adjei, my grand uncle, Dr. J.B Danquah, my maternal uncle, William Ofori-Atta, the famous Pa Willie, and my father, Edward Akufo-Addo.
l entreat the general public to come and see the interesting exhibits on display and learn about our history. And I hope as many children as possible will get the chance to see this exhibition, too. I pray 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.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this morning, I also have another very pleasant duty to perform at this ceremony. As part of the activities marking Ghana’s 60th anniversary, and to celebrate the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board’s 60th anniversary, I am here at this ancient Christiansborg Castle to commission a 60th anniversary Legacy Project – The Presidential Museum of Ghana.
I have, therefore, tasked the Minister for Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture to spearhead the transformation of the ‘Old Castle’ into a museum, that celebrates our past Presidents, and inspires us all 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 Christiansborg Castle, originally built by the Danes, became the seat of government in 1877, when Accra became the capital city. In 2013, the seat of government was moved to Jubilee House, a Legacy Project built to mark Ghana’s 50th anniversary of independence, its Golden Jubilee. 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.
The vision is to have a state-of-the-art museum, which will house presidential artifacts, presidential papers, waxworks of our Presidents, and also have on display personal possessions like books, artworks and items of clothing to allow us to honour appropriately their memories.
One interesting exhibit at this museum will 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.
What we are witnessing here this morning is an indication of the special attention my government intends to pay towards the development and promotion of tourism. Investment, innovation, the pursuit of service excellence and meaningful partnerships will be the means towards the realization of this vision. For this reason, I have, again, instructed the Minister for Tourism to convene an Investment in Culture Forum. The Forum, will, amongst others, focus on drawing the necessary investment towards the restoration of our forts and castles, provision of access for our creative communities, i.e. singers, dancers and filmmakers, to investment, and ensuring a vibrant cultural content for both domestic and international tourism. The Forum should also propose ways by which we can appropriately honour the memories of the African Diaspora – Maya Angelou, George Padmore and W.E.B Du Bois, who were initially interred here, Muhammad Ali, Pele, amongst others, all of whom stressed their connection to our country. One can imagine the amount of interest and the boost for tourism this would generate in the African-American communities of the Americas and the Caribbean.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I now have the singular honour of commissioning The Presidential Museum of Ghana, a Legacy Project to commemorate Ghana’s 60th anniversary.
I am excited about this project. I am excited about the opportunity it provides the people of Osu and its environs in terms of jobs as well as entrepreneurship. I am hopeful that young people from Osu will find jobs here, and those interested in receiving training as tour guides and curators will receive the required support from the Ministry. And I look forward to touring this museum when it is completed.
Thank you for your attention. May God bless Ghana and may God bless us all.