In the presence of family, friends, and government officials, the new name board for the Major Osmar R. Simmons Museum in The Bottom was unveiled on Friday, January 27.
During the official ceremony preceding the unveiling of the new sign above the entrance, donated by the Saba Tourist Bureau, Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Rolando Wilson looked back at the life of the person whom the museum was named after, the now-deceased Major Osmar Ralph Simmons.
Simmons was born on Saba in 1922 and at the age of 15, like so many other Sabans, left the island to further his education and seek employment. During WWII, he returned to Saba to work as a police officer. In 1966, he became the local Chief of Police.
Wilson described Major Simmons as a quiet, calm, compassionate, peaceful, religious, observant, and respectful man who loved his family and community. “He was a true leader, a man who got things done without having to raise his voice. And to his side stood his loving and caring wife Carmen. He cared deeply for the people, especially for the young people, giving them guidance and counseling, supporting and motivating them. He was a positive role model who made a big difference in the lives of all that he touched,” said Wilson.
The museum contains a large number of everyday objects from the past days displayed in multiple rooms, giving visitors an insight into how Sabans lived many years ago and what they used in their daily lives. The items in the museum were collected by Major Simmons, his wife, and his family, while there are also many donated objects.
Director of Tourism Malinda Hassell said that the Major Osmar R. Simmons Museum was a special and beautiful place that many times visitors overlooked. Hassell said that during the village tour of The Bottom with students during Tourism Awareness Month in October last year, she noted that the museum didn’t have a sign. This being important to direct visitors to the museum, the Tourist Bureau decided to help out with a sign.
While hiking and diving remain Saba’s selling points, the picturesque villages and hospitality always capture the hearts of visitors, said Hassell. She said there was a lot to do in The Bottom. In that regard, the museum is a great asset in promoting the largest village and referring visitors to it. She said product development was a priority for the Saba Tourist Bureau, seeking ways how to highlight the island and what it has to offer.
Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, who did the unveiling of the sign together with Major Simmons’ daughter Lorna Simmons and great-granddaughter Janella Matthew, called on future generations to continue the legacy created by Major Simmons and his wife and to carry the mantle.
Island Council Member Vito Charles reflected on his grandparents, their wisdom, and their integrity. “This museum is their legacy; it is part of Saba’s heritage. This museum is an opportunity to celebrate their memories,” said Charles.
The program of the unveiling of the sign included words by Father Zibi, folkloric dances by students of the Sacred Heart School, and a word of thanks by Major Simmons’ daughter Olga Simmons. After the official part, guests were invited inside the museum to look at the collection.