Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Feb. 7, 2010) - For years, when asked what they wanted to see more of in Guam, visitors noted the lack of cultural and historical attractions. They wanted more experiences that taught them about our island, its people and its culture.

Recently, there have been some big strides made to improve and expand upon cultural and historical visitor experiences.

The Guam Visitors Bureau brings cultural performers when they go abroad to promote our island. There are more local groups that share interpretations of ancient Chamorro dances. Gef Pago' showcases Chamorro traditions and cultural practices, and the Night Market at the Chamorro Village has been a popular event for tourists and local residents that features food and local arts and crafts.

And the Hagåtña Heritage Walking Trail will soon be completed, offering visitors a tour of local historical and cultural landmarks in our capital city, from ancient latte stones to the Spanish Bridge.

The one missing feature that would help our island better showcase its unique history and culture is a quality, permanent museum. Right now, the museum can only offer small displays; there needs to be a permanent facility that can properly feature exhibits and displays so that visitors, as well as those who call Guam home, can be exposed to the rich past of our island.

With the government of Guam's finances restricting its ability to construct this needed facility, the Guam Museum Foundation has been working to get a permanent museum built. It has approved a design for the facility and has a location for the building. It has a plan that includes electronic and interactive media, as well as live demonstrations of traditional cultural practices.

What's lacking is the funding to get it built. The foundation has been raising money toward this goal, and the public can help make this dream a reality by attending regular fundraising events or purchasing items from the foundation's gift shop.

We strongly encourage residents and local businesses to give to the foundation so that our community can soon have a museum facility that we can be proud of.

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