The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Museum received $105,000 from the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation and from the Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) for the repair of the museum building, new museum director Danny Aquino said.
Lawmakers appropriated $55,000 while the MVA board voted to provide the museum with $50,000, he added. “The museum’s roof is leaking and the plumbing needs to be repaired,” he said, adding that some paintings have already been damaged by the leaks.
Aquino said the museum has to be closed until its leaking roof is fixed. “It’s dangerous to open with the puddles of water on the floor.” He said they also have to remove paintings and photographs from walls. The Office of the Mayor of Saipan also assisted the museum with ground maintenance, including tree trimming, brush-cutting, water-blasting and debris removal. “I’m very grateful to Mayor David Apatang and his field personnel for helping us out,” Aquino said.
The museum, Aquino added, also needs more space for its growing collection of artifacts. “We have so many boxes of remains from the past that there is no longer any room for storage. Offices have been used for storage,” he said. A part of the museum was the old Japanese hospital constructed in 1926, he said, adding that the remodeled building opened in 1998. “Once all the repairs are completed, we will reopen. The CNMI Museum Board of Governors and I will begin to create a marketing plan to raise funds so we can be more independent and self-sustaining.”
The museum was established as a public corporation by Public Law 10-5 while Public Law 12-57 allows the museum to generate revenue, establish trust funds, engage in fundraising activities and spend donations. Aquino expressed gratitude to Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres for appointing him as museum director and thanked the board for supporting him. “The job is challenging, especially with our limited budget but government agencies are offering their help,” he said.