LĂśDERITZ has seized the opportunity of being located next to the ocean and the country’s maritime history to develop a new attraction in town.
The southern coastal town will have its museum exhibiting maritime and naval history collections, which is expected to be inaugurated in June next year.
Angel Tordesillas, the board chairperson of the LĂĽderitz Waterfront Development Company (LWDC), told The Namibian yesterday that the museum project, housed in the old power station building, is progressing well after upgrading and renovation works were halted due to insufficient government funding.
â€śBarring any unforeseen catastrophes, we expect to inaugurate the maritime museum by June next year,â€ť he said.
The LWDC is spearheading the redevelopment of the 1911 German colonial era power station building into a multi-purpose sports facility, state-of-the-art maritime museum, and Namibia University of Science and Technology campus.
The old power station, located close to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, is being renovated at a cost of N$280 million, which is part of the second phase of the LĂĽderitz waterfront development.
The renovation and upgrading project, funded by the government, commenced in June 2013. Other construction works are expected to be completed towards the end of 2019. Tordesillas said the museum will play a vital role in attracting tourists to the southern harbour town, and is expected to draw 30 000 visitors annually.
A skeleton of a whale and a musical fountain to be erected on 112 square metres will greet visitors upon entering the museum.
There will also be maritime collections â€“ most of them donated by Tordesillas â€“ including shells, one of which weighs 75 kilogrammes, navigation instruments used in ships decades ago, globes, charts, maps, fishing gear, a decommissioned research vessel, and seven large fish tanks with live fish and preserved sea mammals.
Other items on display will be literature on guano and seaweed, whaling, deep-sea mining, animal life, the Skeleton Coast and the Benguela current.
The latest acquisition of the museum is a whale that recently washed ashore at the Jakkalsputz campsite near Henties Bay, whose skeleton will be displayed at the museum.
The pillars of the museum are fishing, trading and mining at sea.
â€śThe museum will comprise a living archive linked to Namibia’s relationship with the sea since time immemorial,â€ť said Tordesillas, a museum enthusiast, who has visited about 220 museums across the world.
He said the museum’s main objective besides attracting tourists to LĂĽderitz is to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to understand and appreciate the Atlantic Coast’s rich maritime heritage through exhibits, programmes and activities. â€“ firstname.lastname@example.org