A large representation of the Saba community came out for the opening of Saba Heritage Center in Windwardside. This centre was the original concept of Corinne Hofman from Leiden University and Commissioner Chris Johnson, which was later assisted with actual implementation by Saba Archaeological Center SABARC.
Funding, logistics and cooperation for the creation of the Heritage Center were made possible by the Government of Saba, Leiden University Faculty of Archaeology, Mondriaan Fund, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, Saba Lace Ladies, and SABARC.
Friday’s opening ceremony included speeches by Commissioner Johnson, Hofman, Glenn Holm of the Saba Tourism Bureau and Saba Museum Board, and by SABARC President Jay Haviser, as well as words of faith by Father Simon Wilson of the Roman Catholic Church.
During the opening ceremony, which was moderated by SABARC Director Ryan Espersen, a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to renowned Saba historian Will Johnson, who also contributed words of inspiration to the substantial crowd present.
Furthermore, a new book published in Leiden, edited by Hofman and Menno Hoogland, entitled Saba’s First Inhabitants, was launched and copies were distributed to visitors.
The cutting of the opening ribbon was an excellent representation of the key goals for this heritage centre as a community facility for cooperation among the many heritage organizations on Saba.
From the “living history” participation of Saba Lace Ladies, providing regular demonstrations of their important intangible heritage work at the centre, to the periodic rotating artefact exhibitions about various aspects of the culture and history of Saba, to the technical laboratory facilities for scientific research, and as a public facility for lectures on heritage, the Saba Heritage Center marks an important new era for heritage appreciation on Saba.