Construction Of New Guam Museum Set To Begin

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Incoming curator announced for $27 million project

By Frank Whitman

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, August 14, 2013) – The Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility has a curator, Joseph Artero-Cameron announced yesterday following a ceremony for the signing of the notice to proceed for the construction of the museum.

Artero-Cameron, president of the Department of Chamorro Affairs, said he had been looking for a qualified curator for nine months without success until recently. The new curator is Sandra Yee, formerly senior archaeologist with SWCA Environmental Consultants. Yee has museum experience in Ohio, Artero-Cameron said.

During the notice-to-proceed ceremony, Gov. Eddie Calvo and Henry Taitano, administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority, signed the notice to proceed. Calvo said he is pleased with the project. "[The museum] is something I’m proud of, not only as governor, but as a citizen and a Chamorro Guamanian," he said. "This will be the crown jewel for the revitalization of HagÃ¥tña."

Calvin Kelly, of GEDA’s project management office, outlined the museum project. He said $27 million has been budgeted for it, $21.4 million has been committed to date, and his office is projecting it to cost $26.7 million to complete. He said it should be open by December 2014.

Features

Architects Andy Laguana and Andy Cristobal, of Architects Cristobal + Laguana, talked about the features of the completed museum. Laguana noted the museum’s place in the revitalization of HagÃ¥tña. "This museum has a lot of things for everybody," he said. "It’s got a nice lobby. It’s got an arcade in the back that can be used by artists on the weekend if they want to set up and show their wares. And there’s a 160-seat theater that anybody can use in the evenings, even when the museum is closed."

An open area on the second floor will offer a view and be an inviting gathering place.

The iconic Guam structures along Chalan Santo Papa include the Guam Congress Building, the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica and the Bank of Guam. "Those are the kinds of things that will really enliven Chalan Santo Papa," he said. "To me, Chalan Santo Papa is the main access."

The open arch of the museum will preserve a view corridor from Marine Corps Drive to the hillside behind the Plaza de España.

The three-story museum will include 1,400 square feet of display area on the first floor and a 6,300-square-foot main exhibition area on the second floor.

Seven galleries will show different time periods and different aspects of the island and its history, and will feature different forms of interactivity. "They’ll show how the Chamorros adapted to their environment," he said.

Displays

Exhibit placards will include QR code readers to activate narratives on visitors’ cell phones, Cristobal said. Displays will include replicas of latte houses, proas, and a lancho. A display with LED stars will convey ancient celestial navigation. Another display will portray the occupation of the island by Japanese forces from December 1941 to July 1944 and the destruction resulting from the war. Exhibits from more contemporary times will include motion-activated oral narratives from residents.

An interactive family-tree display will "try to provide information to local visitors about their family genealogy, if they’re interested," Cristobal said. "They just type in their name and then their genealogy will appear." Another exhibit will give visitors an overview of the HagÃ¥tña restoration project.

Site preparation was completed by Maeda Pacific and construction of the building will begin with pile driving for the building foundation, said Reynald Del Carmen, vice president of Inland Builders, the contractor for the $15.34 million construction of the structure. The company is finalizing its contract with the subcontractor for that work. "We hope to confirm our pricing on that hopefully by the next month or so," he said.

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