Annie Walsh Memorial School: My Two Cents’ Worth

24 March 2013 at 21:31 | 2260 views

By Dr. Hassan Sisay, USA.

Recently, “feathers” were ruffled and lots of alumni of the above illustrious institution were understandably upset over the rumor that the location of their alma mater might be converted by the government into a market place or vehicle parking area to serve the Freetown metropolis. There was an outpouring of opposition worldwide to what many considered as a blatant attempt to desecrate the location of their former school. Accordingly, I hereby propose a more useful and perhaps less controversial way of using the premises if and when they become available. How about converting the location into a museum to replace the tiny facility that currently serves as our national museum located near the Freetown Cotton tree? Such a decision would achieve many positive results. Foremost, it will save the invaluable historic buildings that currently exist within the Annie Walsh school campus from imminent destruction or abuse. Further, the structures could be used to house a multiplicity of our national artifacts which could be useful in educating Sierra Leoneans of all walks of life about the history of our country.

Imagine, how interactively impactful it will be to visit a place where one could have access to the photographs, videos, slides, books, and antiquities of major events relating to our history. The location could showcase items used during the slave trade, the struggle for Independence and memorabilia relating to the more recent civil war. Such would have an invaluable and extremely positive impact on our educational system for all. Museums are powerful vehicles to teach people about the history of a nation and the horrors of war. They help visitors to touch, feel, and see things that can only be imagined from a distance or unavailable in text books. They are an effective tool for the advancement of education, and in this instant, a museum will certainly continue to enhance and reinforce the leadership role in education that the Annie Walsh Memorial School has effectively maintained for so long in Sierra Leone.

Besides, because of its ideal location and expanded facilities, a museum at the Annie Walsh campus could easily be a major tourist attraction generating much needed foreign exchange for Sierra Leone. It will provide employment for highly trained professionals who will be in charge of maintaining museum archives - through purchases of historically significant artifacts, paintings, and related objects beneficial to researchers as well as public viewers. Museum personnel will also offer lecture series on exhibits to prospective visitors at designated times of each day. The research component of the proposed museum will definitely be crucial in highlighting the enormously significant contributions in education in general, and the education of women in particular, of the Annie Walsh Memorial School. Further, there should also be an area within the complex to sell local artifacts to visitors and a good restaurant of international standards for the use of patrons. The fact that the location is close to a police stations is, I believe, an added advantage. I am sure there are many more useful suggestions on what to do with the Annie Walsh Memorial School Premises. But the above is my suggestion. What is yours?